Swiss design engineers choose SICK safety systems on novel electrical riveting machine 

Machine builder, BalTec, produces machines for connection technology. It is the global leader in technologies for radial and wobble riveting, as well as rolling and pressing. Focusing primarily on customers in the automotive, furniture, and electronics industries, it helps companies in these industries achieve more productivity and efficiency.

Recently, the company developed a novel electrical riveting machine called the “Electric” product family. The previously pneumatic drive has been replaced with servomotors, which make the connection technology much more efficient and fast. This machine from BalTec is setting a new benchmark in the industry.

“We want to differentiate ourselves in the market and always find the best solution for the very specific requirements of each of our international clients,” said Domenico Mollo, Managing Director at BalTec. “Equipping our machines with the best possible safety concept is absolutely essential to us.”

Driving Sustainability

BalTec did not shy away from starting the costly and lengthy process of developing a servo controlled riveting machine. One goal was to be able to freely define the relative speeds of the die and rivet and, therefore, the forming process in all process steps in order to achieve more flexibility and faster cycle times.

“As a rule, machines are strictly tied to one process technology with a relatively narrow processing window, but now the three classical forming processes – radial, orbital, and roller – can be employed in one compact machine because the servo technology allows us to freely select and specify all kinematic parameters, including the infeed rate and speed of rotation,” explained Klaus Huber, Product Manager for BalTec, in regards to the design advantages of the “Electric” product family.

For users, this means they can replace up to three pneumatic machines with a single electrical one and quickly amortize the higher investment cost through greater efficiency, higher speeds, and perfect precision.

For BalTec, a strong driver for embarking on this multi-year development process was not only the issue of sustainability, but also energy efficiency.

“The ‘Electric’ has an efficiency of around 70 to 80 percent, whereas machines that use a compressor not only have high production and maintenance costs and an overall efficiency of less than 10 percent, but also suffer from noise and safety problems”, said Huber.

But the company decided to take it one step beyond purchasing simple standard motors on the market. To achieve an optimal forming process and total process control with maximum compactness, Huber and his colleagues developed their own motors.

Exacting standards: everything from a single source

This constant striving for the best possible and most comprehensive solution is also reflected in the approach they took for the safety concept for the new machine. When it comes to machine safety, the Swiss mechanical engineers were not willing to make any compromises.

Huber said that only the most stringent safety standards would do from the beginning of the development process for the new riveting machine. The “Electric,” being a riveting machine, is not actually subject to the strict standards and regulations for presses. Not satisfied with simply meeting the minimum standards in this area, BalTec set itself the goal of achieving the highest performance level e (EN ISO 13849). They therefore chose to use the deTec4 core light curtain, the STR1 transponder safety switch, and the TR10 Lock safety locking device from SICK.

“Using these three systems for access protection, we were able to implement the highest standard of safety for every variant of the ‘Electric,’ all from a single source,” Huber said. “SICK also has an outstanding reputation in our European target market, which will help us during the market launch.”

The absence of blind zones, in particular, is what impressed him first of all about the deTec4 core. In addition, the overall design of the deTec4 appealed to him as well.

“It enables me to successfully integrate the device into the overall concept and I consider it a great feature,” Huber said. “There are some ugly light curtains out there too.“

In addition, the protective field height can be set in increments of 150 millimeters between 300 and 2,100 mm, which enables a short response time. This allows for more design freedom because it allowed the light curtain to be positioned close to the machine and an ergonomically satisfying workspace to be designed.

Short response times and successful design

With short safety times of just 40 ms response time, 100 ms release time and 80 ms risk time, the STR1 non-contact safety switch has also been incorporated into the “Electric” with sliding table. It ensures a high machine availability thanks to a large door offset tolerance.

The compact design again offers flexibility in mounting. As is also the case for the third access protection system from SICK, the TR10 Lock. Design and functionality were key selling points for BalTec.

“The TR10 Lock can be integrated very attractively, its mechanical construction is fully reliable, and it performs its locking function with great strength and reliability without drill holes,” Huber said.

Furthermore, the high coding level of the actuator fulfills the requirements of EN ISO 14119 on manipulation protection without additional measures.

Three devices – one standardized interface with a SICK Safety Solution

Three tried-and-proven products from SICK assume the safety tasks in the various machine variants of the “Electric” from BalTec. The advantages of a single supplier with complete solutions is obvious to the team at BalTec.

“We have three different devices, but always the same standardized interface, which reduces the cabling work,” Huber said. “It greatly simplifies the certification process and, last but not least, we have only one contact person for all matters.”

Interested in learning more about how the deTec4 can work for you? Contact a SICK representative today at!