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IFM Electronic Ltd

Head Office

efector House Kingsway Business Park
Oldfield Road
TW12 2HD
United Kingdom


020 8213 2222

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About us

ifm is a world market leader in sensor technology and a pioneer in Industry 4.0. Since its foundation in 1969 ifm has developed, produced and sold sensors, controllers, software and systems for industrial automation worldwide. As one of the pioneers of Industry 4.0, ifm develops and implements consistent solutions to digitise the entire value chain “from sensor to ERP”.

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Machine safety

The Machinery Directive stipulates machinery should not present a risk. Since there is no zero risk, the aim is to achieve an acceptable residual risk. If safety is dependent on control systems, these must be designed so as to minimise malfunction. Safety technology in automation minimises the risk of damage to persons or installations. The ifm product range comprises a multitude of safety products including electro-sensitive protective equipment (ESPE), door switches, actuators and control systems. Unlike conventional safety switches, inductive safety sensors directly detect metal - without requiring a special target. Safety light curtains and safety light grids are used where hazardous areas must be secured. They are optoelectronic safety devices consisting of one transmitter and one receiver. They conform to the safety requirements of type 2 / SIL 1 or type 4 / SIL 3. AS-i door switches with guard locking have the function to keep moving protective equipment such as protective grating, protective guards and other covers closed as long as a dangerous state is present. The safe mushroom-headed E-stop buttons and other protective switches force a machine or installation to stop or shut down in a hazardous situation. ifm fail-safe sensors and operating elements can be connected to any safety evaluation unit, e.g. to safety relays, programmable logic modules or safe controllers. Safety components can easily be incorporated into an AS-i network via AS-Interface Safety at Work. Signals from standard units and safe components are transmitted via a common cable. For direct installation in vehicles or mobile machines, ifm provides the powerful, freely programmable 32-bit SafetyController.

Sensors and Machine Vision

The O3R platform is the holistic solution for the central, synchronized processing of image and sensor information in autonomous mobile robots such as AGVs. The simplified integration and reliable interaction of cameras and sensors enables the robust implementation of relevant functions such as collision protection, navigation and positioning. In addition, stationary tasks for the analysis and dimensioning of objects can also be implemented, which can be managed more effectively using multiple cameras. This can be the measurement of pallets, tree trunks, packages or suitcases. Powerful and open The central unit for sensory processing The core of the system is a high-performance computing unit called the Video Processing Unit (VPU), which uses yocto Linux on NVIDIA Jetson TX2 embedded hardware. Based on a Docker architecture, open development environments such as Python, C++, CUDA and ROS are supported. Up to six camera heads can be connected to the processing unit, as well as additional sensors via a Gigabit Ethernet interface, e.g. for measuring distances. All relevant "senses" that an AGV needs for safe autonomous navigation are thus available at a central point. Camera head with imager from our own development Ifm also offers suitable, powerful camera heads as part of the platform solution right from the start: The 2D/3D cameras have an opening angle of either 60° or 105° and are equipped with the latest time-of-flight imager from pmdtechnologies ag . The company of the ifm group of companies develops all sensors for the vision products of the automation specialist and tailors them precisely to the respective requirements. Thanks to the modulated infrared light, the 2D/3D camera captures objects with maximum reliability, even when exposed to increased ambient light.

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