When the triangulation principle is used for navigation, automated guided vehicles (AGVs) are usually equipped with two different sensors, one for safety and one for navigation. The compact new RSL 400 safety laser scanner from Leuze electronic offers a true alternative: not only is it capable of handling the safety aspects, but it also provides all measurement values for the AGV’s navigation based on the natural-navigation principle.
In addition, the measurement values have an extremely high angular resolution and accuracy. This is important to precisely determine the position of the AGV. Measurement value output of the RSL 400 is optimised for navigation software that functions according to the principle of natural navigation with simultaneous localisation and mapping.
With each 40 millisecond revolution of its deflection unit, the scanner emits 2700 light pulses, which are scattered in all directions on obstacles. Parts of the scattered light are transmitted back to the scanner and used to calculate the distance to the obstacle.
Similar to a map, the navigation software contains an image of the room, including all fixed boundaries. The current position of the AGV is then calculated by comparing the measurement values to the map. This concept is referred to as natural navigation. The more detailed and exact the measurement values of a scanner are, the more precisely the AGV can navigate.
With an angular resolution of 0.1°, the RSL 400 can capture the environment in high detail over the entire measurement range up to 50m. This is achieved through a particularly narrow laser spot that maintains its perpendicular shape over the entire scanning angle. It also reduces incorrect measurements, the likes of which can occur on edges.
In addition to the angular resolution, distance values are also important. With a typical error accuracy of less than 30mm, the values provided by this scanner are highly precise. In addition to that, they are not affected by an object’s reflectance, whether it is a reflector or a black wall.
The additional output of the received signal strength value for each beam allows autonomous detection of reflectors by the navigation software. When beams strike a reflector, the values differ greatly from any other environment, which makes simple and reliable detection possible.
In terms of safety, the scanner offers up to 100 switchable protective and warning field pairs. Because of this high number, the protective fields can be adapted to the respective movement and load conditions as well as the speed of the vehicles in many different ways. And in 4-field mode with 50 switchable field sets, the device can monitor up to four protective fields simultaneously, which enables safe and reliable reduction of the speed of AGVs.
With a scanning angle of 270°, the RSL 400 can also cover the front and side areas of AGVs at the same time; that is, around a corner. With these features and a maximum operating range of 8.25m, even large AGVs can be fully safeguarded with only two RSL 400s.
The scanner is available in various models. The range includes nine functional variants, three of which have data output for AGV navigation. All variants are available for four operating ranges: 3, 4.5, 6.25 and 8.25m. Models with PROFIsafe/PROFINET interfaces are also available. These interfaces make it much easier to integrate the devices, particularly when many different protective field configurations are used.
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