FoldGuard Folding machine safety and guarding system
FoldGuard is a complete safety and guarding solution designed for C-frame style folding machines. FoldGuard is available in both OEM and retrofit configurations and provides optical protection for the clamping operation, monitoring of machine performance plus management of additional machine safety elements.
The FoldGuard laser transmitter and receiver are positioned either side of the machine with floor mounted brackets. A continuous laser field protects the zone between the clamp to protect the operator as they hold the material while it is being clamped. If an obstruction is detected the clamp motion is automatically stopped. By providing this extra protection FoldGuard enables the machine to operate without the need for a safety stop on each cycle for faster operation.
FoldGuard also provides the platform to interface and monitor additional machine safety elements such as emergency stop buttons, foot pedals, light curtains, area laser scanners, safety mats, interlock switches and emergency kick bar.
Optical clamp protection
The block laser field is processed by the receiver and divided into three continuous zones to detect obstructions entering from the front, sides and rear of the clamping space. The protective zones are independently and automatically muted to suit different shape work pieces, including a special hemming mode also enables parts to be formed safety without unnecessary safety stops. This close proximity protection enables parts to be clamped or formed safely at high-speed to achieve maximum productivity.
During operation FoldGuard automatically monitors clamp position, movement and stopping performance. Every time the clamp stops, the system automatically monitors the stopping distance (overrun) to make sure the clamp has stopped within a safe distance.
The system can also detect failures in the hydraulic and electrical systems associated with control of the clamping operation and triggers an emergency stop if a fault condition is detected.
Additional machine monitoring
FoldGuard provides optional monitoring of machine safety elements such as emergency stop buttons, foot pedal emergency stop contacts and the kick bar emergency stop function.
Folding machine manufacturers have the added option to monitor additional safety elements including light curtains, laser area scanners, safety mats and interlock switches plus the flexibility to customise machine safety and control functions.
Simple one-time set-up
During installation the laser transmitter and receiver are easily aligned with the clamp. The floor mounted brackets are fully adjustable to suit different height machines and are quick and simple to set-up.
Folding machine manufacturers have the option to customise mounting brackets that are fixed to the machine frame so FoldGuard can be factory fitted and easily transported with the machine.
Intuitive user interface
The FoldGuard HMI displays system and machine status in real time and provides the operator with simple to follow instructions and messages making the system very easy to operate. The active status of the optical protection is clearly displayed and the operator can quickly change guarding modes with the press of a button.
The panel features a magnetic backing allowing it to be moved and placed on the front of the machine within easy reach and view of the operator.
Intelligent SmartLink << >> CNC Interface
SmartLink is an advanced communications process that seamlessly integrates safety and guarding functions of the FoldGuard system with the machine’s CNC system to further enhance the operation, functionality, performance and efficiency of the machine.
The SmartLink option is available with the FoldGuard OEM configuration and can be custom integrated with proprietary CNC systems by the folding machine manufacturer.
|OEM Configuration||Retrofit Configuration|
|Hardware||TUV CE Certified SIL 3 safety controller with encoder feedback system|
|Software||Kernel Software with application software interface|
|Monitoring of emergency stop buttons, pedal e-stops and kick bar e-stop|
|Monitoring of additional safety elements (light curtains, laser area scanners, safety mats, interlock switches, etc)||-|
|Customisable machine safety and control functions||-|
|Laser transmitter / receiver|
|Laser transmitter (TX)||CLASS 1 block laser|
|Receiver (RX)||Multi-sensor photocell receiver|
|Maximum recommended optical range||8 metres / 26 feet|
|Minimum object detection resolution||4mm|
|Connector type||M12 8 pin|
|Integrated status LEDs||TX status (power / laser)
RX status (power / sensors)
|User interface (HMI)|
|CNC Embedded SmartLink interface||-|
|4.3" widescreen colour graphics display||Optional|
|Vertical adjustment range||970mm to 1170mm|
|Horizontal adjustment range||40mm|
Frequently Asked Questions
Most C-frame folding machines including Jorns, Thalmann, LSK, Variobend, Bradbury and more.
FoldGuard includes a laser transmitter and multi-sensor receiver that are fixed at either end of the machine. A continuous block laser field is projected along the length of the machine to provide a protective zone both forward and inside the clamping space. While the protective zone remains clear, FoldGuard enables the clamp to close in a single action, without a safety stop.
The mute-point is the clamp opening position where the optical protection is temporarily deactivated, allowing the clamp to continue to fully close and clamp the material. FoldGuard automatically detects the position of the clamp head and sets a mute-point of 6mm (1/4 inch). During operation, optical protection is automatically muted when the clamp opening is 6mm, reducing the chance of an operator’s fingers or hands from entering this small space.
A safety stop is where the clamp closing movement is stopped at a opening of approximately 15mm. In order to continue to clamp the material, the operator must release and press the foot pedal again. The safety stop is designed to stop the clamp just above finger thickness to give the operator a final opportunity to make sure the clamp space is clear before the clamp closes on the material.
Yes. With the clamping operation, the operator must be aware that, after a safety stop, there is still a risk of injury if fingers or hands are left inside the clamp space.
If the sensors are blocked above the mute-point, then the clamp motion is stopped (or motion prevented if already stationary). If the sensors are cleared then the operator can press he foot pedal again to resume clamping the part with optical protection active. If the sensors remain blocked then the operator can press the pedal again to resume clamping with the optical protection deactivated, however FoldGuard will force the clamp into slow speed (if machine has dual speed) and force a safety stop and the operator must release and press the foot pedal again to clamp the material.
Any time a sensor is blocked, FoldGuard automatically monitors the clamp stopping performance and measures the stop distance and stop time to ensure the clamp has stopped within a safe limit. FoldGuard also monitors stopping performance any time the clamp is stopped - for example if the foot pedal is released, on a safety stop, etc. The stopping performance is displayed in real-time on the FoldGuard HMI.
This is required because with certain operations, the sensors can be blocked by the material - for example when the material is not flat or has a flange profile. In order to clamp these parts the optical protection must be temporarily deactivated. However, in these situations FoldGuard will force a safety stop, giving the operator an opportunity to make sure the clamp space is clear before pressing the foot pedal again to clamp the material.
The mute-point provides optical protection until the clamp opening is reduced to 6mm whereas a safety stop is at a higher position (around 15mm). After a safety stop, there is not optical protection beyond the safety stop position. If there is no safety stop (sensors clear) then optical protection will remain active until the clamp opening is 6mm.
Hemming mode allows the sensors that are positioned inside the clamp space to be temporarily deactivated to avoid interference with the part so hemming cycles can be completed without a safety stop. In hemming mode, the sensor that provides protection forward of the clamp space is always active until the mute point position. If the front sensor is blocked then clamp motion is stopped, then resumes in slow speed (if machine has dual speed) with a safety stop before the hemming cycle can be completed. Hemming mode will be automatically deactivated if no hems are formed within a 30 second period.
Although FoldGuard provides a high level of protection, you should never become complacent. Always keep hands and fingers clear of the clamp space. Operators must also be trained and fully conversant with the operation of the machine and with FoldGuard.
FoldGuard is a highly advanced system that monitors a range of system and machine functions. During the clamping operation, FoldGuard monitors the clamp position, direction, stop / start motion and stopping performance. The actual position of the clamp is also optically verified to monitor the mute point and ensure the sensors are correctly positioned. FoldGuard also monitors the action of the machine control and hydraulic systems and commands related to the clamping function, foot pedal operation, emergency stop buttons, emergency kick bar and foot pedal emergency stop switches.
FoldGuard is the only complete system developed specifically for folding machines. Aside from having a safety stop on every clamp cycle, traditionally a range of third party devices and/or sensors are used to provide optical protection, however these generally act as basic on/off switches that stop the machine when interrupted. Unlike FoldGuard, these generic add-on devices and sensors do not provide any advanced functionality or monitoring of the machine process and are not designed for folding machine applications.
FoldGuard is available in the United States and Canada from our Retrofit Dealer AMS Controls Inc. For all other enquiries please email email@example.com.