Omron machine safety components make worker protection easy, cut downtime

The most challenging applications to ensure safety are those where personnel are required to access areas where potentially hazardous operations take place, such as machining, welding, movement of a robot arm, etc. The best safety device is one that offers the maximum protection with minimum impact on machine operations at the lowest possible cost. Our comprehensive line of safety components are engineered to meet your most demanding functional safety needs while preserving your productivity and ensuring your people are safe.

50 Years of Experience

Five decades in functional machine safety

Posts on 60 Safety Committees

On international safety standard committees

212 Safety Product Patents

Leading innovations in safety technology

Safety products for every machine in a factory

Reducing downtime with machine safety

Today’s manufacturers are under pressure to be more flexible, reduce downtime, increase efficiency and, above all, keep personnel safe. These efforts are complicated by yet another requirement: the successful management of external influences. These factors are difficult to predict, and when their true effects become known, effective adaptation can be a challenge. Fortunately, the right machine safety technology can help companies reduce the impact of unforeseen events and keep productivity levels high. In this white paper, we’ll examine how this works, with a focus on key features of machine safety solutions provided by Omron.

Omron helps Kerry Foods meet new safety standard

When Kerry Foods set out to meet CAN/CSA Z434 for their palletizing robot cell, it turned to Omron. Our successful solution included:

  • Full risk assessment by Omron TUV engineers to create a safe cell for palletizing robot
  • Six F3SG-RA safety light curtains with Bluetooth to allow for collaboration and movement of operators
  • G9SP safety controller and NB human-machine interface for on the spot programming
  • TL4019 safety interlock switches for swinging doors
  • Safety training seminars

Quick Answers

Learn more about industrial safety products

There are 3 major types of machine guarding equipment:

  1. Safety Door Switches -- These are required when a  machine has a movable guard as access to the dangerous area. Monitoring the door will allow shut off the power when the guard is open or removed.
  2. Electro-sensitive protective device**(ESPE)** -- These detect a presence in their protected field and doesn't require any action from the machine operator. There are different types of devices as safety light curtains and safety scanners.
  3. Pressure-sensitive machine safeguarding products -- These include safety mats, edge, and bumpers.

Monitoring the position of a door or guard is a key element in machine safety. There are 3 major types of door switches:

  1. Tongue-operated Interlocks -- These require a dedicated tongue and can prevent easy cheating of the switch.
  2. Guard Locking Interlocks -- These prevent workers from entering in hazardous machine areas. They detect whether or not fences or doors are not opened and, if opened, stop machines before operators are injured.
  3. Non-Contact Door Switches -- This type does not utilize the mechanical operating method as opposed to the cam operated and/or tongue-actuated switches. As a result, they are unlikely to suffer from the mounting limitation compared to the other switches because of the easy positioning during installation.

CIP Safety (Common Industrial Protocol Safety) is an extension added to the CIP application layer to provide safety services on CIP-based networks such as DeviceNet and EtherNet/IP. The protocol has been developed according to IEC61508 and ISO 13849:1 and is approved by an independent Notified Body (TÜV).

CIP Safety over EtherNet/IP provides a scalable, modular, network-independent safety protocol that supports multicast messaging for faster response and ensures transmission integrity by detecting errors and allowing devices to take appropriate actions. This protocol is commonly used in systems where there is a need to integrate safety devices from different manufacturers to a single platform, like robots and encoders, to develop a safety solution while reducing wiring efforts.

A forcibly guided relay has a forced guided mechanism that prevents that normally open and normally closed contacts are closed simultaneously. This mechanical link between contact pairs is guaranteed over the whole lifetime. Thanks to this feature, it provides an easy way to design circuits with self- monitoring capabilities, according to international safety standards.

Selecting a specific light curtain size to use can present an unusual challenge in ordering components for a machine.  Light curtains are built to a specific height and resolution; as a result, the light curtain has to be very carefully matched to the guarding area to create a safe setup that has no chance of being circumvented.


Before selecting a specific light curtain, you should collect measurements of the space where the light curtain will be mounted – both the width and the height of the opening and will be important.

The width of the opening will correspond to the range of the light curtain, and different light curtains will have different effective ranges, possibly even within a single light curtain series.  Light curtains with smaller resolutions tend to have shorter effective ranges, and some light curtains may have separate part numbers or different configuration modes for different ranges.  Make sure that the light curtain has a larger range specification than the total width the curtain will cover, and bear in mind that using mirrors or similar devices typically decreases the range as well.

The height of the light curtain will correspond to the height of the opening.  The optimum light curtain setup will fully cover the opening and prevent anyone from reaching over, under, or around the light curtain, and will also avoid being too large which will only expose the light curtain to potential damage. A light curtain will have two height specifications that are frequently confused with each other; protection height and physical height.  The protection height is the area that the light curtain can safely detect, and should be used for selecting a light curtain rather than the physical height, which is the literal measured length of the light curtain components.  Select the curtain smallest available light curtain that has a larger protection height than the height of the opening.

Other considerations

One should keep in mind that a light curtain setup might need additional guarding to cover any gaps in the detection.  These gaps are frequently referred to as dead zones, and are caused by a number of factors.  Some light curtains do not have transmitters and receiver elements that actually run the entire length of the light curtain.  If this is the case, the physical height of the light curtains will be larger than the protection area and some additional hard guarding may be required.  Brackets, cables, and connectors can have a similar effect.

Safety Solutions: We make safety simple

With over 35 years of experience in industrial machine safety we are a leading resource for machine safeguarding services. Including:

  • Employee machine and process safety education
  • Machine guarding assessments
  • Risk reduction planning and documentation
  • Review of safety systems and circuit design
  • Safety system design consulting services
  • Turn key safety system installations and retrofits

Train your team on safety requirements

With an emphasis on practical applications, Omron's safety trainings are designed to help your team gain confidence in the global and regional requirements for functional safety.  Available at an Omron location or at your facility, our comprehensive safety training classes include:

• General Safety Skill builder

• TUV Rheinland Function Safety of Machinery: Engineer

• TUV Rheinland Function Safety of Machinery: Technician

Learn more about Omron safety training >

Free Gotcha Sticks makes inspections easy

This folding measuring stick allows you to quickly test safety barrier opening sizes, related to distance from a hazard, to ensure you are in compliance with global safety standards. The Omron Gotcha Stick shows inches and centimeters, with three of the segments covering ANSI and CSA standards, while a fourth segment covers ISO standard requirements.