Collision Detection

Safe desks have some form of collision detection. The best desks combine ISP and FSR collision detection systems to ensure user safety. Read more about how our desks avoid safety issues.

What is Collision Detection?

Collision avoidance sensors are everywhere

In newer cars, sensors and cameras on all sides help provide lane departure warnings, collision alerts, or other warnings. Use of sensors and controls is a growing trend in mining, manufacturing, robotics, and more.

When it comes to office furniture, there is a misconception that electric height adjustable tables have anti-collision systems similar to those in modern cars. This is slightly misleading; what exists is actually collision detection. Collision detection will stop the desk from moving and slightly reverse its course when it makes contact with something. In the best electric desks, high tech sensors and software are part of this collision detection system to warn of mishaps and help “course correct” the situation to reduce incidents.

Think of it as built-in Spidey sense for your desk. 

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How does it make a desk better?

Most important feature of electric desks

It’s fair to say that one of the most important aspects of a height-adjustable desk is proper collision detection. A sit-to-stand desk should stop immediately when it collides with your knee, a chair, or anything for that matter. Failure to stop can cause the desk to tip over, or may place enough stress on the desk to break a component. Collision detection results in less wear and tear on furniture, and protects the overall function of the desk.

You would think that all electric desks would have some sort of collision detection. They don’t. Some even have height presets and no detection, so there’s no way to stop the desk once it’s moving. Others have a “one touch” feature, which allows you to start the desk movement to a preset height and then walk away without noticing the book hanging over the edge of the table next to the desk. Others have an improperly functioning collision detection system due to design flaws or other issues. 

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FSR is Collision Detection (2 Stage)

FSR (Internal Force Sensor)

In addition to ISP, Kessebohmer Ergonomics’ two-stage collision detection systems also offers an option for an added type of collision detection called FSR (Internal Force Sensor). This sensor’s additional level of sensitivity provides additional level of security.

The FSR’s resistance changes as more pressure is applied. When there is no pressure, the sensor looks like an infinite resistor (open circuit), so the desk continues to travel at its normal rate. As the pressure and force on the desk increase, the resistance of the sensor decreases and the motion of the table is stopped. 

2-Stage Collision Detection

ISP Collision Detection (1 Stage)

ISP (Intelligent System Protection)

The most common collision detection systems for electric desks are control systems that measure changes in current to quickly detect that a collision has occurred. All Kessebohmer Ergonomics electric desks are equipped with a control system called ISP (Intelligent System Protection).

ISP is a patented collision detection technology by LOGICDATA (Kessebohmer Control System Partner). It is designed to detect collisions and ensure that the drive system is not damaged due to the collision. ISP enables you to protect your drive system from interference with hard obstructions both internal and external to the mechanism. A hard obstruction could be something like a cabinet or a chair arm, and the idea is to reverse the motion if a moving table hits another object.

Single Stage Collision Detection

Mechanical Braking System

The system uses software and integrated sensors to calculate the amperage that should be needed to move the desk and its contents. If the desk collides with another object that prevents its motion, more amperage is needed to move the desk. Whenever a spike in amperage is detected, the control stops and reverses the motion of the desk.

In addition, a mechanical braking system is necessary to overcome the inertia associated with the movement, when there are loads on the desk. Stopping sensitivity is affected by the mechanical construction of the table, motor design and size. Conditions like weight on the table or the flexibility of the collision object are also factors. 

While collision detection greatly reduces the risk of injuries, it is not specifically considered a safety device. These systems are designed primarily to protect the table drive system.

Weight, Gears, Control Systems

Other Collision Detection Design Considerations

In addition to having a robust control system, other design factors help ensure the safest operation of a motorized table. Weight of the load on the table, motor, and gearbox size need to be considered in the design to prevent collision damage. Gearbox size alone needs to be large enough to overcome both weight and inertia to stop the table before injury or damage occurs. Frame, work surface design and rigidity also contribute to sturdiness. Many systems in the marketplace sacrifice these qualities for price.

One of the design features of Kessebohmer Ergonomics’ Electric Motor Table Systems that sets them apart in the marketplace is a mid-point reset rather than a bottom reset. With a bottom reset, the control usually drives the table even lower when a collision is detected. Whatever caused the collision becomes trapped or pinched under the table, and the user has to manually lift the table off the object, and then remove it, to do a reset. The advantage of the Kessebohmer Ergonomics’ middle reset is that it will retract to the midpoint of the stroke, which in almost all cases is away from the object that created the collision.  

Attention to details like collision detection sets a high quality electric height adjustable desk apart from the rest. The highest performing electric desks are also far ahead of the competition in speed (50 mm/second) and quiet operation (≤ 50 dBA). These features define Kessebohmer Ergonomics’ as some of the highest quality performing electric desks available on the market.

Electric Motor Desks from Kessebohmer Ergonomics