Light curtains, also known as safety light screens or barriers, are critical safety tools in any workplace that uses moving machinery. These optoelectronic devices keep workers safe by detecting movement within a designated zone and automatically disconnecting any hazardous machinery when triggered.
There are different types of light curtains available, each with unique features. In this article, we’ll discuss some of these different types, helping you make a smarter choice for your business.
How do safety light curtains work, and what are their benefits?
A safety light curtain is a safety sensor that can detect if a person has passed through it and trigger a result, such as an alarm or system shutoff. Multiple industries use these sensors to prevent accidents, including manufacturing, construction, and food processing.
Light curtains comprise either a single or double row of LEDs, which emit a beam of light. The beam is interrupted when a person walks through the light curtain, which activates an alarm or stops hazardous machinery from running.
Safety light barriers provide excellent protection for people, equipment, and machinery, significantly reducing the risk of injury or death caused by contact with moving parts. In fact, implementing safety light curtains can reduce workplace accidents by up to 80%.
Additionally, light curtains are a useful alternative to physical barriers, providing advanced protection and taking up less space.
What are the different types of safety light curtains used across industries?
Safety light curtains protect workers around textile machinery, process machinery, hydraulic presses, and more—but not all safety curtains are created equal. They can differ in:
- Maximum scan distance (can range from 0m to 20m from transmitter to receiver)
- Beam resolution (can range from 14mm to 70mm)
- Number of beams (from one to eight and beyond)
- Protective height and width (up to 260mm/15m)
- Response time (from 2.5ms to 40ms on average)
- Supply voltage (up to 24 V)
When shopping for new safety light curtains for your business, it’s vital to look into each of these factors. In the next section of this article, we’ll look deeper into how you can use these characteristics to determine if a device is right for you.
Choosing the best safety light curtain system for your needs
So, you’ve decided to invest in light sensors to improve workplace safety within your business. But how do you ensure you’re making the right choice?
Well, scan distance and beam resolution are two key factors to consider. You’ll need to make sure the scan distance is broad enough to cover the entire hazardous area.
Meanwhile, you’ll need to choose a beam resolution suited to your needs—for detecting smaller body parts like fingers and toes, 14mm is suitable, while resolutions of 20mm or above are best for full-body detection.
Selecting the right light curtains is easy
With all this new information under your belt, selecting the right light curtains for your industry will be a breeze. Just make sure to choose a scan distance, protective area, beam resolution, and response time that suits your application, and you’ll be well on your way to creating a safer working environment for your employees.