The Altendorf HAND GUARD safety system is the world’s first optical safety system for sliding table saws. The early warning system identifies hazardous situations and eliminates them before an accident occurs, thereby protecting people, machines and materials. An optical signal in the form of an integrated lighting solution is used for communicating with the user and indicating a hazardous situation.

Unlike conventional safety systems that use capacitive sensors to register the change in electrical capacity in the environment, Altendorf – a manufacturer of sliding table saws based in Minden in East-Westphalia and founded in 1906 – has created a safety system with Altendorf HAND GUARD that does not just kick in after an accident has already happened. The early warning system with two cameras registers hand position and movement, detects hazardous situations long before an accident happens and initiates corresponding measures. The optical system also works with all materials, thereby protecting – irrespective of which material is used – the most important asset of any workshop employee: their hands.


Three phases of the safety system

In a two-phase safety system, the sliding table saw responds to changes in hand movement and detects potentially hazardous situations. In more urgent situations, the device stops automatically and the saw aggregate is lowered. For the first of the two safety stages, Altendorf has implemented an integrated lighting solution in the HAND GUARD safety system. If the operator’s hand gets too close to the saw blade, an integrated colour lighting solution in the protective cover emits a visual signal to the user.


Integrated lighting solution for increased safety

Integrated linear lighting, which is achieved using MENTOR’s side light fibre system M-Fibre, is used for communicating with the user via light. The flexible LED lighting system is inserted into the sliding table saw blade’s protective cover and provides information about whether the user’s hand is safely within the defined work area, or already in the high-risk area. If the hand moves within the defined work area of the saw, the integrated lighting solution LED is green and the user knows that they can safely continue working. As soon as the hand moves into the danger zone, that is, critically close to the blade, the light turns yellow and the user can see the situation at a glance, change the position of their hand accordingly and move it to safety.