Motion Control & Drives

Greater machine safety

January 2015 Motion Control & Drives

SICK Automation has expanded its Flexi Soft modular safety control system to include the new FX3-MOC drive monitor, promising increased flexibility for safe operator intervention through a wide range of drive safety functions to reduce machine downtime and aid productivity.

Supporting all standard encoder and motor feedback interfaces, the new monitor is ideal for a wide variety of stationary and mobile machine safety applications, especially for machines that require frequent intervention where maintaining a controlled speed is beneficial to continued safe operation.

For example, the high-performance drive monitoring of the FX3-MOC enables an operator to reach into a machine at reduced risk without having to power off. The device can also be used on automated guided vehicles alongside SICK safety laser scanners to monitor vehicle movements.

“SICK uses the term motion control to refer to safety products that monitor the safety of machine movements, based on the principle of safe motion monitoring, rather than de-activation,” explains Dr Martin Kidman, SICK UK machinery safety specialist.

“The drive monitor reduces time-consuming maintenance and setup procedures since the machine sequence does not have to be completely stopped. In contrast to conventional solutions, protective doors can also open immediately after the monitor has detected that the machine has stopped and not only after a pre-determined time.

“The Safe Stop 2 function means that if an operator reaches into a monitored hazardous point, the drives are stopped but remain under power. A quick restart is ensured without having to reference the drives again.”

As an extension module to the SICK Flexi Soft safety controller, the drive monitor can be configured using SICK’s Flexi Soft Designer engineering software. Up to six drive monitors are possible on a single Flexi Soft main module.

The monitor’s many functions are in accordance with IEC 61800-5-2 and open for almost all common automation and controller environments. It is suitable for AC, DC, servo stepper motors and other types of drive. Compatible with a range of common fieldbus protocols, it is also simple to integrate into a higher level PLC controller in combination with the Flexi Soft safety controller.

In total there are seven drive safety functions; two Safe Stops; Safe Operating Stop; Safe Speed Monitor; Safety Limited Speed; Safe Direction and Safe Brake Control. With the Flexi Soft controller, one FX3-MOC can monitor up to 10 speed levels and four brake ramps, as well as multiple axes.

For more information contact SICK Automation SA, +27 (0)11 472 3733,,


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