Next Generation of Safety Component Products
Rockwell Automation, Inc. is one of the most prominent companies in the industrial safety market. A significant portion of this field is made up of emergency stop cable pull switches, which provide access to an emergency stop at all necessary points in an industrial environment. When an emergency stop cable is pulled, coupled machinery is stopped in order to avert an impending crisis. The cables, made of polymer coated stainless steel, are subject to thermal expansion caused by temperature variation of the environment, such that the force they exert on the switches may vary. This can cause nuisance tripping, resulting in costly interruptions.
In this project, the SCOPE team identified improvements to the emergency stop system and developed a solution that alleviates the negative effects of temperature change on the system. Their design for the next generation of cable pull switches tolerates a large temperature range and is scalable for longer cable runs which gives Rockwell an advantage in the stagnant market. The concept the team devised is an optical sensing system to differentiate between movement due to thermal expansion and movement due to an emergency pull.