FoldGuard Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Which machine models are compatible with FoldGuard?
Most C-frame folding machines including Jorns, Thalmann, Bradbury, Variobend, and more.
How is the clamping space protected?
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. (In older models, two laser fields are projected.) While the protective zone remains clear, FoldGuard enables the clamp to close in a single action, without a safety stop.
What is the mute-point?
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.
What is a safety stop?
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.
Is there a risk of injury after a safety stop?
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.
What happens when the sensors are blocked?
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.
What else does FoldGuard do when the sensor is blocked?
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.
Why can the clamp still close with optical protection deactivated?
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.
How does the mute-point position differ from the safety stop position?
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.
How does hemming mode work?
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.
What general safety practices should I observe?
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.
What additional monitoring does FoldGuard provide?
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.
How is FoldGuard different to other methods of safe guarding?
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.