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Toposens launches world’s first industrial grade 3D Ultrasonic Collision Avoidance Sensor

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The Munich based high-tech startup Toposens is announcing the market launch of its first commercial Toposens 3D COLLISION AVOIDANCE SYSTEM for mobile robots based on the proprietary Toposens 3D ultrasonic echolocation technology. This represents a key milestone for the company following more than seven years of R&D and product commercialization.

Addressing the unmet need for higher safety of mobile robots in industrial settings, the Toposens 3D Ultrasonic Echolocation Sensor ECHO ONE® and Toposens PROCESSING UNIT with sophisticated filters for 3D collision avoidance is now available, having been run through rigorous commercial testing in real-life industrial scenarios with reputable mobile robotic companies. This kind of “co-developing” of a high-tech product together with leading tech firms ensures highest levels of performance for the commencing serial deployment.

Detecting the Undetectable

With the autonomous vehicle industry booming and mobile robots, such as automated forklifts, AMRs and AGVs, experiencing exponential growth levels, the safety of humans and machines is kept at the forefront of manufacturing efforts. The market has come to realize that 3D collision avoidance is a necessity, since the obligatory 2D safety LiDARs can only deliver two-dimensional data output not matching highest safety needs.

Due to their physical properties, other 3D Sensor systems, such as LiDAR or camera have limitations in their perception capabilities when for example the optical conditions in their environment are unfavorable or objects like forklift forks are close to the floor. As a result, they struggle to detect objects well enough, making them an unreliable and insufficient collision avoidance solution. In fact, the leading cause of industrial accidents in 2022 has been identified as blocked vision, and the associated costs are forecast to amount to over 2,5 Bn $ by 2025 in over 50.000 factories being equipped with mobile robots. Also, the traditional one-dimensional ultrasonic sensor does not deliver the needed data for reliable 3D collision avoidance, as it can only measure simple distance data (= time-of-flight), compared to the 3D point cloud the Toposens 3D COLLISION AVOIDANCE SYSTEM is able to generate.

Re-defining robotic safety

Trying to find a way to compensate these shortcomings and provide the market with a best-in-class 3D collision avoidance, Toposens has over the past few years been working towards a commercial version of its

3D Ultrasonic Echolocation Sensor to serve the need for a reliable mobile robot 3D collision avoidance.

Based on the principle of echolocation as seen in bats, Toposens ECHO ONE® compensates the drawbacks of optical sensors through sound-based triangulation in combination with sophisticated noise-filtering software. This in turn delivers robust 3D data output in real-time for each obstacle detected within the fully adjustable warn- and stop zones. What’s more, the zones can both be set to dynamically follow a mobile robot taking a left- or right turn and adjust to the speed of the vehicle.

The sensor sends the obtained data (echo reflections perceived by three microphones) in a 3D point cloud format to the Toposens PROCESSING UNIT which is equipped with an easy-to-configure advanced 3D collision avoidance software.

From there, depending on which 3D zone violations are detected, the Toposens PROCESSING UNIT triggers either a “slow down” or “stop” command to the mobile robot’s CPU. When no zone violations are detected, the mobile robot drives on.

Bat vision versus bad vision

“Being able to detect multiple difficult-to-detect obstacles reliably and in real-time, regardless of environmental conditions, enables us to provide next-level robotic safety for our customers. Our technology addresses the shortcomings of optical sensors, such as LiDARs, which can fail to detect floor-based objects like forklift forks on the floor, in unfavorable lighting conditions or transparent or mirrored object surfaces. Receiving data output in 3D, meaning in x, y, and z coordinates, guarantees the most reliable level of 3D collision avoidance”, says Tobias Bahnemann, CEO and Co-Founder of Toposens and continues:

“Ahead of production, we have been co-developing and testing our Toposens ECHO ONE® in pilot projects and actual real-life set-ups with renowned companies for almost two years. This has put us in a position, from which we can now offer our customers a state-of-the-art, next-level robotic safety system. With 3D collision avoidance capabilities missing in existing sensor solutions, the economic setback of damaged goods, or even expensive production stops as a consequence of undetected obstacles, can considerably limit the ROI of any mobile robot system. This highlights the necessity for mobile robots to “see” their environment using a different kind of vision technology – we call it “BAT VISION” and are delighted to now be moving on to serial production.”

Toposens is now taking orders for its first commercial version of its 3D ultrasonic collision avoidance technology with the all-new Toposens ECHO ONE®.

If you want to place an order or send an inquiry, then do not hesitate to contact us via our website or send an Email to info@toposens.com.

If you want to find out more about this industrial breakthrough and its unique capabilities, visit the company website on toposens.com/

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Schaeffler Offers Sustainable Solutions for the Food and Packaging Industry

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  • Schaeffler presents expanded Food program in Hanover
  • Sustainable engineering generates extensive customer benefits
  • IoT solutions such as Schaeffler OPTIME and OPTIME C1 reduce operating costs and use of resources

Schaeffler will be demonstrating how further successes in sustainability can be achieved in the food and packaging industry at Hannover Messe 2022. The automotive and industrial supplier is not simply confining its efforts to new products in this area, however, with the company practicing and recommending a much more comprehensive approach to the development of solutions. Schaeffler will also use practical examples and development projects to demonstrate the potential of sustainable engineering in Hanover.

As Ralf Moseberg, Senior Vice President Industrial Automation at Schaeffler, emphasizes: “The foundation for the use of resources is laid as early as the design and development phases for production equipment, and must focus on comparing the efficiency and operating points of the various drive systems, such as torque motors or geared motors, extending the relubrication intervals and service life of components, reducing friction, and optimizing seals.” Reducing the lubricant requirement has multiple benefits for the operator and the environment, due to the additional savings on water, cleaning agents, and reprocessing costs that are always generated in parallel.

Extended Food program for safe, clean, and sustainable food production

Specific environmental influences and legal requirements call for the use of adapted rolling bearing solutions. As part of its new Food program (series FD), Schaeffler is offering a range of corrosion-resistant and sealed standard deep groove bearings, which are supplied with an initial application of lubricants produced to food industry standards, in order to satisfy such conditions. In addition, Schaeffler will be presenting new housing units made of white, glass fiber reinforced plastic, which provides high levels of resistance for sensitive food processing applications. The lubricant compound Schaeffler Lubtect is recommended for particularly demanding operating conditions and lubricating requirements. Lubtect is a porous but dimensionally stable polymer, which ensures continuous and reliable lubrication.

Conserving resources in the food and packaging industry

IoT solutions such as the Schaeffler OPTIME condition monitoring system and the smart Schaeffler OPTIME C1 lubricator also help to avoid rejects and conserve resources accordingly. In addition to smoother production, operators who use the OPTIME system also benefit from no longer having to hold stock of spare parts and replacement units over many years. The energy and raw material savings associated with the now nonessential production of unnecessary spare parts will lead to improved energy footprints for production locations. In production plants, OPTIME C1 helps to prevent overgreasing and lubricant egress at the bearing positions, with resulting reductions also achieved here in the large quantities of water and chemicals that would otherwise be required for the necessary cleaning work.

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LMI Technologies Launches Landmark New Series of 4K+ High-Resolution Smart 3D Laser Line Profilers

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A combination of high-resolution and wide field of view makes Gocator® 2600 sensors ideal for measurement of both microscopic features and large parts / large conveyor applications

LMI Technologies (LMI), a leading developer of 3D scanning and inspection solutions, is pleased to announce the official release of its new Gocator® 2600 Series of 4K+ resolution smart 3D laser line profile sensors.

These factory pre-calibrated sensors come equipped with custom optics and a powerful 9-megapixel imager to deliver 4200 data points per profile for high-resolution 3D scanning and inspection across wide fields of view––in applications such as battery inspection, food processing (e.g. baked goods production), building materials (e.g. furniture, doors and windows, planks, sheet metal), automotive (e.g. air spring and wheel inspection), rubber and tire production, and general factory automation.

A quick look at the Gocator 2600 features and capabilities:

  • 9-megapixel imager
  • 4200 data points per profile for high-resolution measurement
  • X resolutions up to 0.018 mm (at 71 mm) FOV)
  • Fields of view up to 2 m (at 0.55 mm X-resolution)
  • On-sensor measurement tools and I/O connectivity
  • Native multi-sensor alignment and networking support

“The Gocator 2600 series adds landmark 4K+ laser profiling to our field-tested, robust, and reliable 3D smart sensor product lineup. At 4200 data points per profile, customers can now solve for the most challenging microscopic features or choose to leverage the 2600’s wider field of view models for 3D scanning and inspection across a multitude of large conveyor applications”, said Mark Radford, CEO, LMI Technologies.

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Fruit experts rely on a daily routine check for optimal quality assurance

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One of the leading manufacturers of fruit preparations in Germany, has leveraged its vast experience, creativity and flexibility for over 50 years to produce semifinished and finished products for the ice cream, baking, dairy, beverage and chocolate industries. These products are sold through food retailers and also to the food service industry. The company’s business units are divided into fruit preparations/purees, fruit in alcohol and fresh convenience products such as fruit salads. 

Driven by inventiveness, innovation, experience and state-of-the-art production processes, the quality of these first-class products is underscored by numerous renowned certifications such as IFS Food and BIO.  To successfully meet food safety standards, the fruit expert uses a validation process that Sesotec has introduced as a service.

Diverse challenges

Naturally, coping with limited resources requires sustainable management and technological innovations. Global competition and stricter regulations, moreover, further increase the pressure to constantly innovate technologically in order to boost productivity and profitability. Laws and regulations, meanwhile, require the use of inspection equipment in food production. Continuously complying with these regulations often creates major challenges for customers, such as dealing with the technology itself, a lack of knowledge about its correct handling and managing standards that vary from country to country.

Many customers face the problem of lacking the knowledge of which setting parameters can cause a significant change in product safety and process relevance. A validation process can aid these customers to overcome this challenge and take a successful path towards compliance with food safety standards.

Manufacturer validation as a solution to the challenges

Validation takes place at the beginning of the life cycle of a product inspection system – that is, after initial installation but before release for commercial production. It represents an initial qualification of a device based on the specified functional descriptions. Validation provides evidence that the selected device, when used correctly, is capable of meeting the specified targets in all cases. Such specifications may relate to detection accuracy, but also to other functions such as the correct operation of the ejection device.

Definition „Validation“

According to International Featured Standards (IFS), validation is the confirmation, based on objective evidence, that requirements for the specific intended use or application are being met. The Codex Alimentarius Commission, meanwhile, defines validation as the provision of evidence that a control measure, or a combination of control measures, when properly implemented, can achieve both hazard control and specified result.

Manufacturer validation is conducted by a service engineer at the end customer‘s premises. While it may take place at the same time as the commissioning of the equipment, during maintenance or at a special validation appointment, on-site manufacturer validation is targeted to be carried out after commissioning. It takes place when the equipment is already running stably, and specifically addresses the needs and requirements of the customer. The validation certificate issued is unique, because it provides proof of normal distribution and another threshold or checkpoint for daily routine testing. It also serves as proof for the customer of annual maintenance and supports the daily routine tests.

Validation simplifies quality assurance

Typically, re-validation must be performed when significant changes are made to a metal detector. However, re-validation can be avoided if, after validation, when a test body is placed on the ground the value no longer falls below the lower limit value. For instance, there would be no need for re-validation if the product angle, the conveyor speed or the sensitivity are changed and it turns out that the specified detection range is maintained. The upper range can be neglected, as a higher detection of the test bodies is advantageous. If a validation certificate is available, re-validations are not necessary.

The bottom line is that validation carried out by Sesotec at the fruit expert helps to avoid product waste, conserve resources, and increase productivity and thus profitability.

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