Wood & Panel

Altendorf advances optical safety system for circular saws

 Wednesday, June 22, 2022

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Altendorf debuts world’s first hand guard and protects the most important thing in the trade, the hands from possible accidents. The Hand Guard system from the Altendorf Group is an optical safety system for circular saws. It detects hazards even before potential contact and makes the saw blade disappear via rapid lowering.

Hand Guard: Optical system for accident prevention

This world first from Altendorf is a safety system that has been awarded the OWL Innovation Prize. The innovative safety system relies on early optical detection. Two cameras detect the danger zone of the circular saw rather than capacitive sensors that measure the conductivity of the skin. The special feature of Altendorf’s world first: Hand Guard reacts before the hand comes into contact with the saw blade! This makes the optical method much faster than all known capacitive systems. This is because these only stop the saw blade when there has been brief contact between the skin and the saw blade.

Hand Guard: Lightning-fast guardian angel

The Hand Guard system stops and lowers the saw blade unit within a quarter of a second -even before a dangerous situation arises. Altendorf relies on an optical system consisting of two cameras located above the sliding carriage. Software detects previously defined hazards from the camera images and stops the saw blade by rapid lowering. The sensor-controlled lowering movement not only protects the operator, but also the machine, saw blade and workpiece.

Occupational safety is an important topic in the trade, because accidents and injuries cannot be completely avoided. To prevent the risk of injury when operating a sliding table saw, Altendorf has installed a three-stage safety system. It reacts as soon as a hand comes dangerously close to the saw blade.

New standard in occupational safety

After the emergency stop, the sliding table saw is immediately ready for use again. According to the company, the system requires only 10 seconds to be ready for operation again. The Hand Guard also works with suitable work gloves and is said to be insensitive to damp wood, conductive materials and coatings. The Altendorf Group hopes the innovative safety system will set a new standard to improve occupational safety in the woodworking industry worldwide. To this end, IMTEST spoke with Managing Director Peter Schwenk about the innovative world first.

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