Safety at work with Profisafe sensors in vehicle assembly

Safe switching

Vehicle assembly at MAGNA STEYR Fahrzeugtechnik in Graz with PROFIsafe safety sensors from Leuze electronic

MAGNA STEYR Fahrzeugtechnik develops and manufactures systems and modules for all parts up to the entire vehicle for the OEMs and VMs of the automotive industry all over the world. Currently, the Peugeot RCZ, the MINI Countryman, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, the Aston Martin Rapide and the aluminum vehicle body of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG are produced at the Graz plant. This demands flexibility with an advanced production system that is characterized by robots in assembly cells which practically work hand in hand with their human colleagues. Safety at work is the top priority here. System manufacturer EBZ has created a perfect safety concept based on PROFIsafe with safety sensors from Leuze electronic for the construction of Peugeot RCZ vehicle bodies.

MAGNA STEYR Fahrzeugtechnik AG & Co KG, located in Graz, with its Engineering and Vehicle Contract Manufacturing divisions, belongs to the MAGNA STEYR Group and thereby to one of the largest and most highly diversified automotive suppliers in the world. MAGNA STEYR is a leading development and manufacturing partner of automobile manufacturers which produces independently of specific brands. OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) and VMs (Vehicle Manufacturers) provide solutions for a wide range of services with highly-flexible development and manufacturing strategies – from sub-systems such as door modules, tank or roof systems to the entire vehicle, from small series to peak load coverage and high-volume production.

"The Peugeot RCZ is the first entire vehicle that PSA Peugeot Citroën has assigned to MAGNA STEYR," explains Raimund Linortner from the System Project Management department in Graz. He highlights the term "entire vehicle," as this encompasses complete responsiblity, from the choice of development strategy to the development of the vehicle, the purchasing of all new parts, quality assurance and production.

"The only specifications that Peugeot gave us were the external form of the concept vehicle and a strict schedule," reports Linortner. He points to extensive experience in small series and not least to highly flexible production lines as the reason it only took 18 months from virtual development, which was done without a physical prototype generation, to the start of production. The flexible production lines allow MAGNA STEYR to manufacture several different types of vehicles in one line. This requires not only staff, but also a high amount of adaptability from the robots and tools.

Absolute safety in the assembly cell feeding-in area

The combination of manual activities with automated processes creates a spatially close working area for humans and machines which demands a very sophisticated safety concept. A typical area in which robots work almost hand in hand with their human colleagues in assembly cells is the manufacture of vehicle bodies, or more specifically, the construction of the Peugeot RCZ sport coupé. "The assembly cells are designed so that several products can be manufactured in them. Employees insert components and also do certain tasks," Linortner says. This requires an absolutely safe and flexible switching access monitoring process in the operating and feed-in areas.

Josef Kollmann from EBZ SysTec GmbH, Ravensburg, has solved this challenge with the combination of two safety sensors with different functions from Leuze electronic. The project leader responsible for the electronics of the assembly system belongs to the EBZ Group team which, as a service provider in the vehicle body construction sector, executes all work from the development of components to the commissioning and optimization of the system. In total, there are 23 industrial robots linked to one another in this production section. They handle in a highly dynamic manner vehicle body parts and welding tools. There are also an additional 16 insertion points where employees enter the robot working areas in order to place new components into the system. In each of these points, it must be ensured that no person or object can enter the area while the robots are working. "In addition, no one can be in one of these areas when, after new components have been fed in, the assembly cell has been re-enabled," adds Kollmann. Both requirements are fulfilled by the combination of COMPACTplus Safety Light Curtains and ROTOSCAN RS4 Safety Laser Scanners from Leuze electronic.

While the COMPACTplus Light Curtains protect the vertical access area, meaning disabling the respective system when the protective field is crossed, the ROTOSCAN RS4 Laser Scanners guard the so-called stepping-behind area. The Safety Laser Scanners are area scanners. This type 3 electro-sensitive protective equipment reliably detects bodies, legs, arms or hands in protected field contours which can be configured in any dimensions. Depending on the requirement, with just one laser scanner, both complex and changing safety areas can be monitored completely and flexibly. And there are hardly any limitations on space, energy supply and flexibility. Futhermore, the mounting position is completely arbitrary. Generally, the laser scanners at MAGNA STEYR are located on the ground, where they cover the entire working area horizontally. For example, during rear floor assembly of the RCZ in which a carriage is moved, the robot cell is not only protected from above, but also vertically.

Access on green

Signal lamps show the employees when one or more robots of an assembly cell are disabled and when access is enabled to allow new components to be inserted. After successful feed-in, the respective working area is to be re-enabled manually from outside. The ROTOSCAN RS4 Laser Scanners now checks the entire robot cell with its protective field: "After all, a person could be behind the light curtain," warns Kollmann. Enabling would then not be possible. With the safety sensors which can be flexibly switched on and off, all feed-in areas are perfectly protected both vertically and horizontally.

PROFIsafe in connection

What Kollmann particularly emphasizes is the application profile. Both the COMPACTplus Safety Light Curtains and the ROTOSCAN RS4 Safety Laser Scanners feature an integrated PROFIBUS DP connector unit. The functional extension of PROFIsafe enables the entire operation of non-safe standard automation devices and safety devices on the PROFIBUS DP.

"We do not need separate terminal boxes for the Leuze electronic safety sensors. They are directly connected to the bus," Kollmann is happy to say. The PROFIsafe sensors do not require any modifications in the existing hardware components and can be integrated easily into existing systems.

The PROFIsafe driver is a software component which is certified by TÜV. It sits above the communication layers on the PROFIBUS DP stack. Data transmission reliability is achieved by a special user data structure in which, in addition to the actual safety data, a control byte, a consecutive number as well as an additional check sum are embedded. The PROFIBUS address enables the unique addressing of a PROFIsafe device even in systems with several PROFIBUS branches, meaning several slave addresses for similar devices. Only cyclical data is transmitted reliably, i.e. is processed before transmission through the PROFIsafe driver.


The COMPACTplus Safety Light Curtains and the ROTOSCAN RS4 Safety Laser Scanners from Leuze electronic guarantee perfect personnel safety in both vertical and horizontal directions in the working areas used for the manufacture of Peugeot RCZ vehicle bodies at MAGNA STEYR. They are certified products and function modules which not least simplify system approval. The PROFIsafe communication standard presents a considerable potential for savings due to wiring and the diversity of parts; furthermore, it offers the advantage of retrofitability, which then helps create the flexibility demanded at MAGNA STEYR.


  • Secteur/domaine

    Industrie automobile, technique de montage/manutention

  • Cahier des charges

    Sécurisation de postes dangereux, Sécurisation d'accès, Commande, Sécurisation des secteurs dangereux

  • Application

    Safety at work with Profisafe sensors in vehicle assembly


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