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B&R is the first manufacturer of intelligent track systems to introduce human-track collaboration. Five integrated safety functions allow humans to work directly alongside the track with no safety barriers – without impairing productivity.

Human operators remain indispensable on many production lines due to their skill, intelligence and ability to learn new tasks quickly. Manual workstations will therefore continue to play an important role in the factory of the future. This makes it all the more important to reconcile safe human-machine collaboration with short time to market and attractive return on investment. The intelligent ACOPOStrak transport system and B&R's human-track collaboration make this possible.

  • Highlights
  • No safety barriers
  • Zero-downtime setup mode
  • Selective activation of safety functions
  • Boost in OEE and ROI

Flexible safety functions

The five integrated safety features at the heart of safe human-track collaboration: Safe Torque Off (STO), Safely Limited Speed (SLS), Safely Limited Force (SLF), Safe Direction (SDI) and Safe Maximum Speed (SMS). These functions allow the shuttles to slow down to a safe speed and exert a safely limited force when humans are nearby. In other areas of the track, or when no one is around, the shuttles travel at full speed and full power. In addition, the maximum safety response time of six milliseconds is very short.

Safely Limited Speed and four other safety functions keep operators safe when interacting with machinery.

What truly sets B&R's human-track collaboration apart is its flexibility. The limit values for safe speed and safe force are not fixed values, but can be calculated dynamically by the safety application at runtime and activated or deactivated as needed. The safe speed calculations even take the weight of the shuttle into account. This allows shuttles of different weights to travel at their respective maximum safe speeds without posing a danger.

Safe setup with zero downtime

The safety functions of ACOPOStrak also enable implementation of a safe setup mode. In setup mode, the speed and force limits are activated as needed for the respective track sections. Once humans have left the safe zones, the restrictions are lifted, and it is possible to switch between reduced-speed and full-speed operation as needed. Other systems have track elements that are able to limit the speed intrinsically, but this restriction cannot be disabled or adjusted.

Efficiency and profitability

Due to the extremely short error response time, safety clearances can be much smaller. Even with collaborative manual workstations and safe setup mode, the machine surrounding the track can be kept to compact dimensions. This increases return on investment and shrinks the machine footprint. Human-track collaboration takes ACOPOStrak's ultimate production effectiveness to a new level.

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