GfA UK Ltd - product, industry and company news
Tel: 01926 452452 Summer 2015

Light curtains: are they worth the pain?

Light curtains have been available in the UK for some time now. But while in Europe we see the door industry embracing the light curtain as standard, the UK is holding back.

Why might this be? 
The light curtain uses a grid of scanning infrared beams directly under the closing door. Any obstruction of the beams immediately reverses the door back to an opening state and in doing so ensures an additional level of safety and efficiency by preventing any contact to people or obstacles.
In an environment where blue chip end users have increasing pressure to meet their responsibilities to their employees’ and consumers’ safety, this solution may offer door companies a way of differentiating themselves from competitors.
From listening to GfA customers, we believe the UK resistance to light curtains is based on price and installation challenges.
It’s true that if the door guides are designed and installed before a light curtain is specified, then retro-fitting can be difficult. There may not be room in the guides, or a windlock may have been fitted (to stop the door moving inside the guides) which would get in the way of the light curtain.
The real opportunity rests with customers who think about the light curtain when they are designing the door guides. In other words, designing the door around the light curtain to take advantage of its benefits.
One customer has recently done just that, changing the guides on a rapid-roll PVC curtain designed for forklift truck access. The light curtain enables speedy, safe access in a situation where the safety edge would not work so well.
The initial price of a light curtain is more than a safety edge, but it becomes much more competitive on larger doors as it is a fixed price. It remains the same price, regardless of the width of the door. As a non contact safety device the need for an additional photo beam is negated. 
Join the debate

Let us know your thoughts on the light curtain. If you don’t currently use them, are price and fitting the barriers to you doing so? Or are there other reasons? How can GfA work with you to change this?

You can request further details about the GfA Light Curtain here. And for expert advice on choosing the right safety device for your application please call our technical sales team on 01926 452452.