Relax in the back row! New classification now in place for laser projectors

Posted by in Professional cinema

From the beginning, Barco been involved to reform the old and over-restrictive laser safety driven standardization and regulation of laser-illuminated projectors (LIPs) on a global level.

As the new framework is in place (notably excluding USA) Barco has reclassified all laser devices covered under the old Class 4 framework.

This is good news for cinema operators around the world! 

With the new framework, there’s:

  • No more need for a dedicated laser safety officer (LSO)
  • No more unclear event safety requirements
  • No need to interlock doors or covers, emergency stops …
  • Reduced hazard distances (HD) due to the use of more appropriate intensity limits
  • Reduced requirements for the applicable minimum separation height (SH)
    • For digital cinema the applicable separation height became 2m (6’ 7”)
    • For areas where unrestrained behavior1 is possible (like events, festivals etc.) the applicable separation height is set at 3m (9’ 10”)

This does not mean our devices became less safe! The internal laser optical path and potential fault conditions are still fully covered under the strict assessment requirements of the new laser safety standard.  At this point in time, Barco is no longer using the outdated laser standard for any of its high-brightness LIP products. This is however still common practice for other brands, so the communicated Classification needs to be used with caution. Because often, the classification is based on the blue laser emission only; potentially under-estimating the risk of the product.

For example, all Barco flagship laser projectors are now Class 1, with a separation height reduced to 2m; according the standards IEC 60825-1:2014 and IEC 62471-5:2015.

As the US laser safety regulations are managed by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the specific separation height of 2.5m and other laser safety regulations remain the same.

What has changed?

The light out of the projection lens (accessible emission) is considered ‘lamp like’.  This is validated via strict technology criteria as described in the laser standard.  For this reason the product becomes a Class 1 - Risk Group (RG) 3 device.

The old laser triangle has been replaced by the optical radiation symbol and not for household symbol:

Assigning a Risk Group is a way of classifying a light source (all lesser classes did) into different risk groups according to the following hierarchy:

Risk Group 0

Inherently safe

Risk Group 1

Safe, for intended use

Risk Group 2

Safe, based on aversion response (eye blink)

Risk Group 3

Potentially hazardous for eye and skin exposure at close distance

The hazard distance calculator is updated and available within the multiple screen calculator v.2.02 and in the single screen calculator v.1.02, both available after login on my.barco.com.

For more information, consult the updated safety manual.

Questions?

If you have any questions on this topic, please contact:

  


1Tip: if you want to find out if unrestrained behavior is possible; verify if it’s possible to have people sitting on each other’s shoulders.


About the author

Jan Daem

Jan Daem is responsible for regulatory and product safety affairs for Optical Radiation and is part of the Product Validation Group; CTO at Barco. Jan started his career at Barco as Product Validation Engineer in 2010. Since 2012, Jan has been actively supporting the adoption of laser projection technology and its worldwide market access. As an active member of IEC TC76, Jan has international experience in creating product safety standards. As Chairman of the industry association LIPA (Laser Illuminated Projector Association), he has a wide experience of working together with regulatory bodies worldwide. Jan holds a Master’s Degree in Electronics, ICT and Safety Engineering at KHBO and Leuven University and is based in Belgium.

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