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The USi®-safety Sensor System in Accordance with Category 3 PL d

PL d certification

Ultrasonic Technology for Safety in All Areas

The USi-safety ultrasonic sensor system is breaking new ground for safety applications—whether in challenging, dusty environments or in outdoor areas. Machines and vehicles can be reliably protected using state-of-the-art ultrasonic technology and all of the advantages this brings.
Intelligent Design for Every Situation

Intelligent Design for Every Situation

A miniature sensor unit detached from the control interface allows the USi-safety to be used even in confined installation situations. The special design of the converter allows the sensor to cover an elliptical, three-dimensional sound field with opening angles of ± 17° and ± 5°, providing an improved level of safety.
Protected against Manipulation

Protected against Manipulation

Preventing safety functions from potentially being manipulated is a recurring challenge when implementing safety applications. USi-safety supports a teach-in process where a machine part is used as a reference target, so that the sensor system can register deviations immediately and the safety function can remain operational.
Quick Parameterization and Automatic Documentation

Quick Parameterization and Automatic Documentation

Comprehensive parameterization software and documentation make commissioning the ultrasonic sensor system quick and simple for users. In addition, the parameterization software can be used to initialize periodic tests and to generate safety protocols for the required safety verification in a fully automated manner.

Two Category 3 PL d Safe Systems on a Single Evaluation Unit

USi-safety evaluation unit

Up to two ultrasonic sensor units (ultrasonic transducers) can be connected to the evaluation unit of the USi-safety ultrasonic sensor system. They each have a single-fault tolerance, 2-channel structure. Reliable protection is therefore possible via each of the two independent sensor channels. A safe sensor system is provided even when only one sensor unit is connected. One signal output and safe OSSD outputs in accordance with category 3 PL d are available for signal output to a safety controller for each connected sensor unit.

In combination with the remote design of the converters, which are available with cable lengths of up to three meters, the system can be used very efficiently in applications where left/right or forward/reverse movements in a space need to be safeguarded—on Auto-Guided Transport Systems, for example. In addition, applications can also be implemented in which both sound fields are focused directly adjacent to each other or even overlapping to secure the widest possible collective sensing range—for example, as a sound curtain that is used to control access to a work cell.


Elliptical Sound Field for Especially Wide Sensing Range

USi-safety sound field

Whereas conventional ultrasonic sensors emit acoustic signals in the form of a radially symmetrical sound beam, in the USi-safety this takes the form of a strongly elliptical sound field. The opening angle of ± 17° / ± 5° creates an especially wide sensing range in one plane and a narrow sensing range in the other. This allows the sensor unit to be mounted in confined installation situations.

The system can therefore be used successfully even just above ground level or close to a wall. At the same time, this technology—which is optimized for capturing 3-D spaces—enables the sensor to detect switching targets or obstacles that are overhanging or near to the ground.

The System

The USi-safety ultrasonic sensor system consists of a evaluation unit, a sensor unit, a temperature sensor, and the software. To learn more about the individual components, click through the tabber menu on the right.

USi-safety system

The Components

Evaluation Unit
Sensor Unit
Temp. Sensor
The evaluation unit contains two microcontrollers that monitor the connected sensors, their own hardware, and each other to ensure that the components are functioning correctly. This provides the system with single-fault tolerance in accordance with EN ISO 13849-1. In addition to the connections for the ultrasonic sensor units and the safe, short-circuit, and crossed-circuit monitored OSSD outputs, there is an input for a temperature sensor and a USB interface for parameterization via PC.

Application Examples

USi-safety in the Field (Video)

Get an insight into how USi-safety works: our animation shows the system at work and illustrates the technical refinements.

Collision Avoidance in the Fork Tip

Collision Avoidance in the Fork Tip

Reliably preventing collisions involving driverless forklifts is an ideal area of use for the USi-safety ultrasonic sensor system. As the ultrasonic technology is resistant to dirt, temperature, air currents, and humidity, it significantly expands the area of use for these automated guided transport systems (AGT). In addition, USi-safety is even able to safely monitor the dead band just ahead of where the fork arms enter the pallet—a challenge that none of the usual safety-certified systems have been able to cope with up to now. A specially developed algorithm prevents cross-talk between multiple automated guided transport systems equipped with USi-safety.

Safe Overhead Conveyors in Hospitals

Safe Overhead Conveyors in Hospitals

Automated guided transport systems can be found in many hospitals. This specific application involves an overhead conveyor with metal rolling containers in which materials such as laundry, medicine, and food are moved to their destination. The AGT system moves through the supply passages in basement floors, picking up rolling containers and transporting them to the required station through special shafts. The USi-safety devices are ideal for integrating into the chassis of the AGT system. The freely positionable sensor units are fixed at a predefined angle on the right and left using customized mounting sets. To prevent the sensor units from separating when the container holder rotates, they each seal with the bottom edge of the switch cabinet.

Reliable Lateral Protection for Autonomous Transport of Tanks

Reliable Lateral Protection for Autonomous Transport of Large Tanks

In the chemical industry, tanks as long as 20 meters can be moved around the site with correspondingly large automated guided vehicles (AGV). Additionally, the routes are used by other vehicles, and also by people, either on foot or riding bicycles. The AGV is controlled using an electronic connection to a tag track. However, long tanks require a correspondingly large radius when cornering and—especially at these points—lateral collision protection. Several USi-safety ultrasonic sensors are distributed on each side of the vehicle. The very compact sensor unit can be mounted in places where other types of sensor would not fit, for example in the wheel area. The sound beam functions as an acoustic “sensor,” which enables noncontact control of the side area during transport. The devices reliably detect all obstacles in a defined safety area. If required, the safety outputs intervene in the vehicle control system.

Personal Safety in Lane-Guided AGVs

Personal Safety in Lane-Guided AGVs

Lane-guided AGVs follow a lane applied on the ground and transport goods from one station to the next. In this process, it can happen that the paths of people cross the specified transport paths of the vehicles. In such areas, collisions between the AGVs and people must be avoided to ensure both personal protection and uninterrupted transport. For this purpose, the detection range of the ultrasonic sensor units can be quickly and easily adapted to the conditions via the parameterization software. In addition to safe OSSD outputs for the safety field, the sensor system also has one signal output per channel, for example to reduce the speed of an AGV or to issue a warning signal.

Machine Safeguarding in the Wood Industry

Machine Safeguarding in the Wood Industry

Usually, machines are safeguarded by photoelectronic light curtains. However, wood dust or other particles flying around in the air, for example, can cause false alarms and the machine switches into the safe state. The light grid must be cleaned and the machine restarted manually in order to continue with the process. Due to ultrasonic technology, the USi-safety, used as a "sound curtain," is insensitive to wood dust and other particles and can withstand demanding environments. Unlike optical sensors, the USi-safety does not need to be kept clean, nor is the production process unnecessarily interrupted by false alarms—and the machine is still reliably safeguarded. At the same time, the system offers the advantage that fixed machine parts can be taught-in via teach-in function and used for manipulation protection. If this reference target is no longer recognized due to manipulation, the system switches to the safe state.

Trust the Ultrasonic Sensor Experts

In-House Quality That You Can Rely On

Ultrasonic Sensor In-House Competence

Ultrasonic sensors from Pepperl+Fuchs are built in our own technology center, where transducer development and manufacturing take place. For more than 30 years, our forward-thinking team of experts has been working continually to advance ultrasonic technology for the solutions of tomorrow. That means our customers always receive the highest performance products on the market.

This approach has led to the broadest portfolio in the industry— supported by numerous patents and innovations—for the highest level of flexibility in product selection and optimal application solutions. In addition to our standard portfolio, Pepperl+Fuchs has the knowledge and infrastructure to respond to customer requirements with speed and flexibility.

What's more, our extensive range of accessories offers you the right modules for customized integration, whether in tough installation conditions or for special applications, custom programming, and coordinated connection technology. They turn any sensor application into a high-performance, future-proof system solution.

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Technology Guides Ultrasonic_Sensors

In our downloadable documents, we share our expertise with you—sign-up for your free digital copies of our technology guides on ultrasonic sensors now! They will help you select the ideal sensor for your applications and get the most out of your device.

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