09/16/20 6:16 pm Mars International
Mars International is a company where innovation meets design. We are a global leader in the design and manufacture of mechanical and electrical assemblies headquartered in Piscataway, NJ, with manufacturing facilities throughout the world. The following is a case study in the innovation and design of industrial beam technology.
Following the success of our optics innovation and electronic flares, we looked to expand our photoelectric sensor technology offerings and break into the reflective beam industry. The challenge was moving into a highly competitive market with established products which meant further innovation in this field for our engineers.
We currently produce a variety of different through beam hold beams which come with a separate transmitter and receiver. One of the benefits of a reflective beam system is the simple installation, our through beam transmitters must be mounted on separate ends of the door or gate.
The future innovation for us is to design a large retro-reflective hold beam, in which both the transmitter and receiver are mounted in the same device with either a reflective plate or reflector at the end. This would negate the need to wire both ends of a garage or gate to the same location. Wiring one end to the gate operator makes for faster installation without installers having to run wires across a road. The ultimately cuts down on the cost of the installation and time to complete.
This would be ideal for commercial and residential gates and operators including indoor, outdoor gates, rolling doors, home garages, parking garages, and industrial warehouse doors. As a company, we see the future of the market in the industrial end of beams.
Like the optics in the electronic flare process, our engineers approached this project from a similar standpoint using simulation software to design the optics and working out from there to complete the overall design.
The start was to make sure we integrated our patented sensor beam tech into this new product. This would ensure a strong enough beam to span a distance of 50 feet and accurate enough to avoid reflection rejection from the sun. We determined this as a necessity as the further the beam gets from the transmitter; the beam incurs a weaker signal as the beam of light begins to spread.
This means our engineers had to make sure that the beam met the 50 feet specification. They knew with the retro-reflective, this was going to be a little bit more difficult. Still targeting 50 feet, the beam has to travel to the reflector and back, meaning that the signal had to travel twice as far and is going to be half as strong in intensity.
Using the latest simulation software, our engineers ran through various scenarios to find out what the best lens would be for that setup. The ensuing result meant some prototypes were made using the sample lens followed by testing in the Mars design headquarters. Through the testing phase, our engineers could determine how strong the signals were and get to a certain signal strength, which allowed the beam to project beyond 50 feet.
Quality is said to be something that cannot be added after the fact, it must be designed in to a product. Here at Mars International total quality management is front and foremost in the minds of our engineers especially when it comes to compliance.
The Mars team of engineers has to conform to the UL 325 specifications because we value the safety regulations and are targeting residential and commercial gates. Compliance standards fell under UL 325, where the beam needs to meet several safety tests. If a swinging arm, or something passes in front of the beam, the device has to be able to detect the movement and deem this incident as a blockage.
From a mechanical or optical UL 325 basis, a swinging arm that passes in front of the beam needs to simulate somebody walking past it or an object swinging in front of it. Depending on how the software is set up, the beam may be flashing or we may choose to have a constant beam on. If something passes in front near the reflector end, the beam, by comparison, is pretty large. This means all the light won’t be blocked. It requires a setting within our software or sensor that detects that scenario, which changes the light response as if there is a complete blockage — ultimately deciphering that as something passing in front of the beam.
Our engineers needed to make sure that they could still detect all these blockage scenarios, even when a bright light is shining into the sensor, and that is where our patented tech really shined.
Our experience and expertise in the safety sensor beam industry has left us uniquely equipped to innovate designs in this industry. Contact us at Mars International on 908-233-0101 to speak with one of our expert engineers about successfully bringing new products to the market.