EC: Harmony Biometric Switch
Safety sensor: Schneider Electric Harmony Biometric Switch. A Switch using fingerprint recognition technology to increase access control. This is a Control Engineering 2011 Engineers' Choice (EC) Award winner.
Utilizing fingerprint recognition technology, Harmony Biometric Switch by Schneider Electric is the only industrial switch of its kind to authorize users for operator or equipment usage. As a viable alternative to combat the weaknesses of the other access control systems, the switch provides simple, reliable and efficient operation to restrict access to sensitive zones and machine functions (starting, adjustment, maintenance, etc.) to only authorized personnel, which is essential in industrial environments. The Harmony Biometric Switch reads fingerprint patterns to verify that someone is authorized to access sensitive areas and machine functions through an anonymous process in which fingerprints serve only to authorize access, but not confirm an individual's identity. Fingerprint readers have been shown to be more effective and efficient than other security systems, and they can also save money long-term. "Every plant manager knows the safety and operational consequences of unauthorized access: it can halt production, damage products being manufactured or disrupt your supply chain, and pose risk to employees, engineers and millions of dollars' worth of equipment," says Selin Yilmaz, push button product manager for Schneider Electric.
"This biometric technology, designed for plant conditions, can provide companies with more effective protection, while saving time and money and increasing productivity." Similar to a key-operated selector switch, the Harmony Biometric Switch has two operating modes: on-off mode or pulse mode for momentary action. Authentication takes less than one second, and the false acceptance rate is less than 0.1%. The switches can remember up to 200 fingerprints, including several fingers from the same operator, for additional flexibility and precision. The new switch fits in a standard 22mm push-button mounting hole, resists mechanical shock and vibration, protects against EMC noise and UV light, meets IP65 and NEMA 12 standards, and offers an optional protective cover and guard.
For more, see www.controleng.com/awards.
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After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.