Altendorf sliding table saws are part of the standard repertoire in numerous workshops of craftsmen and industrial companies worldwide. No wonder, the German medium-sized company with its high-quality and functional products is one of the world market leaders in this field of special machine construction. Altendorf’s innovative strength remains unbroken, as the company proves with its latest, AI technology-based safety feature for sliding table saws: Hand Guard protects saw operators from injury or even the loss of their fingers and hands. This could save thousands of people a lot of suffering and reduce costs for accident-related downtime. The unique combination of traditional mechanical engineering technology with up-to-date Artificial Intelligence know-how was reason enough to honour this innovation with a nomination for the World Technology Leader Award. When Wilhelm Altendorf developed “the first Altendorf” at the beginning of the last century, all he really wanted to do was design a machine that made a straight edger cut on a plank of wood and included a 90-degree cut. However, this also marked the birth of the principle of the “System Altendorf” sliding table saw, which is still valid today – a practical development and the first milestone in a success story that has already spanned more than eleven decades.
A success story that today, over one hundred years later, has been raised to a new level, and which would have sounded simply fantastic to Wilhelm Altendorf. After all, accidents with circular saws still occur every day in workshops and on construction sites. Due to their design, sliding table saws are machines with a particularly high risk of injury. Altendorf has not let the problem rest and has come up with something: a safety system that ensures that the hands are not exposed to any danger when operating a sliding table saw. The result is called Hand Guard. Hand Guard detects potential hazards based on special hand detection software long before a potential injury occurs. The safety system uses two cameras to monitor a wide area around the saw blade. As soon as it detects hands entering the area – with or without gloves – the saw unit is lowered rapidly under the processing table within a quarter of a second. This prevents fingers and hands from entering into contact with the source of injury in the first place. For the correct recognition of a human hand, even with gloves, the implemented AI software has analyzed more than half a million of image files.
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