A jury of experts nominated it, the majority of readers voted for it: The S300 Mini has won the 2012 GIT SECURITY AWARD in Category A, “Safe automation.” In the interview with SICKinsight, Torsten Rapp from the Industrial Safety Systems Division at SICK details the special possibilities of the S300 Mini and the award ceremony in a smaller and larger setting.
Video interview S300 Mini:
The whole interview in text form:
SICKinsight: How does it feel when a specialist journal with a readership of more than 90,000 organizes a vote for the best solutions in the area of occupational safety and you are selected as the winner?
Torsten Rapp: We are delighted to be confirmed in our assessment of what the market requires and of the direction in which current trends are heading. What’s more, getting that from the readers and experts of TÜV and from the ZVEI (Editor’s note: German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association), who acted as a jury, nominating the S300 Mini in the pre-selection phase. The market itself also confirmed us, as documented by the extremely successful product launch.
SICKinsight: What exactly are the trends to which you refer? Moreover, how do you become a trendsetter?
Torsten Rapp: In the past years, SICK has repeatedly introduced innovations that the market received and appreciated in a very positive way. For instance, we were the first supplier that managed to adapt safety to the machine process active at a given time by switching the protective field. Or let’s take protection of industrial vehicles, for which we – the only supplier anywhere to this day – detect the vehicle speed directly on the device using encoder inputs, enabling us to switch the protective fields depending on that. These are only a few examples. Today many customers utilize the special features of our scanners to protect their facilities in economical and effective ways. In this regard, we have set definite trends.
With respect to safety laser scanners, SICK has been the clear market leader for many years. You become a market leader only by listening to customers, supporting them actively in their projects and deriving from common experience the type of improvements that benefit everyone in turn. In the case of the S300 Mini, we are consistently implementing the market demands for miniaturization in conjunction with high-level functionality.
SICKinsight: Why is miniaturization a trend in safety technology as well?
Torsten Rapp: Smaller construction designs, if applicable with enhanced performance data, have always been an issue. Miniaturization is becoming a mega trend because it permits the creation of new markets for our customers. Let’s take small AGVs, automatically guided carts, cellular transport systems of the type seen at the 2011 CeMAT, or think of service robots. The size of the safety laser scanner decides on whether such applications can be realized successfully and economically with automated vehicles, thus allowing the development of new markets. The S300 Mini, featuring an overall height of only 116 millimeters, is precisely what is required in this context.
SICKinsight: The S300 Mini was developed for simple solutions but also for complex applications that demand a high level of flexibility. Is this a contradiction?
Torsten Rapp: No, not a contradiction at all. In fact, the development of the S300 Mini was driven on the one hand by applications that aim exclusively at achieving reliable, certified personal protection. Small is the main thing, one field set suffices, and any added benefit in terms of automation technology is not needed. Our response to that is the particularly cost-effective S300 Mini Standard with one field set, i.e. one protective field and two warning fields. The S300 Mini Remote, on the other hand, delivers the extra functionality required for complex applications. The catchphrase is networking: Using the Flexi Soft safety controller from SICK makes it possible to combine up to four of these safety laser scanners into a network and thus to implement even complex protective tasks. At the user’s end, networking reduces the wiring effort and simplifies installation. In operation, the safe network allows switching the field sets of the individual scanners in a coordinated way – depending on the respective operational states, speeds, and secondary conditions.
SICKinsight: So in light of this, the S300 Mini won the GIT SECURITY AWARD for good reason. When and how will the celebrations take place?
Torsten Rapp: The victory of the S300 Mini was announced at the SPS trade fair. This venue saw a first presentation of the prize in a smaller setting. Subsequently, the official award ceremony took place at the beginning of March in Waldkirch in a larger setting. Both times, we celebrated a bit, together with colleagues who had also taken first place in their category with a VdS-certified laser scanner for security applications. Not too extensively, however, as we are already working on the next innovation.
SICKinsight: Congratulations once again on the success of the S300 Mini and many thanks for the interview!
Application example S300 Mini