The value of digitization in the industrial sector has been viewed with renewed importance starting at the beginning of this decade, with companies investing more into adopting it. This has given rise to a new industrial culture; one that moves towards proactive maintenance rather than reactive maintenance.
The use of industrial robots has brought a number of benefits to the workplace, but it has also increased the inherent risk posed to the workers on the plant. Thus, it is the responsibility of the manufacturer to ensure a safe working environment is maintained at all times.
Safety is often viewed as an extra responsibility, something that comes with greater paperwork and overhead. The truth, however, is quite different. Having a safe working environment can actually have benefits such as assurance of regulatory compliance and increased productivity from the factory floor.
For decades machine safety systems in industrial complexes have been associated with individual components such as safety interlocks, electromechanical relays, switches, fencing, enclosures, and so on. But with each passing year, this approach seems to be expiring and lagging with the requirements of today.
Machine safety components are tools that can be used in a certain manner to ensure the safety of a machine. The end-goal of machine safety component usage has shifted from installation of safety components to the successful accomplishment of a goal-set and a strategy. This effectively means that a shift needs to occur from the traditional on/off, go/no/no-go paradigm towards a more functional approach that ensures the workability of all safety-related components in a coherent manner. This system-based approach is now the consensus of several safety experts due to the rapidly changing market demands and evolving technologies.
Safety should never be seen as a function, forcefully imposed upon a well chalked-out process. Integrated safety has long been seen a dangerous concept to masquerade with, making manufacturers design safety as a separate component. While doing so may make planning easier by adding another major step into the entire process, it actually adds complexity in the form redundancies.
Companies are now realizing this point and gradually shifting towards integrated safety concepts. For instance, Paper Converting Machine Corporation in Green Bay, Wisconsin uses an integrated safety platform from Rockwell to help its engineers plan upgrades while keeping safety in the equation. The integrated controls mean the engineers can perform all sorts of risk assessment while defining the functional requirements early in the design process. In addition, the engineers work in one programming environment since all the process and safety controls are on the same platform.
Dedicated departments for engineering, environment, health and safety can be found in almost every mid to large sized manufacturing company. These departments have little collective knowledge-pool and coherence, since traditionally their KPIs have very little overlapping. For instance, engineers continuously work with operations to improve productivity & efficiency of the equipment, while safety professionals analyze & reduce risks. Therefore, it’s very rare for the two departments to cross paths. However, this attitude has to change if an enterprise wants to keep itself at par with the competition and adjust according to the latest market trends.
Vibrations, what may seem like so irrelevant and benign are actually quite serious, and possess the tendency to damage a machine’s sensitive components. When dealing with industrial machines, shaking is something for which all damping efforts are made beyond a known threshold. The major task is to determine whether the magnitude of oscillation being faced can be tolerated or if needs to be stopped.
Two major trends have greatly impacted the Motion Controls industry, and are currently affecting the global controls market: safety and single-cable servo motors. Therefore, knowing about the changing trends beforehand can serve as a great way to route the selection of your automation hardware in the right direction.
Millions of dollars are wasted on shutdowns by companies who are not aware of the ways to develop their shutdown process.
If an employee is hurt on a machine, all of the machines must be shut down in your facility. Factory shutdowns are necessary in this case, but they are often done incorrectly. You can look at other companies having these problems and understand how to fix certain issues. The process of shutting down is a series of documents and meetings resulting in a final report that displays everything that was learned and what to do if this happens again.