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Innovative approach to machine safety
February 2018, IS & Ex
Food and beverage manufacturers use a series of packaging machinery to label, bottle and package their products before they are dispatched for distribution and final consumption. One of the latest trends in the market is the growing use of robotic packaging systems. Fully automated robotic packaging machinery provides flexibility with respect to throughput in volume and consistency. Although these systems are more consistent than a typical human worker, even machinery is prone to break down and requires maintenance to ensure that production runs at optimal performance. In these instances, operators may need to gain access into these machines, but only once each automated system has entered a safe state of operation.
A flexible approach to machine safety
As a result, many producers use the tGard range from Fortress Interlocks, particularly on packaging machinery such as palletisers, as it offers a flexible approach to machine safety. Customisable as standard, all tGard units are tailor-made to suit the customer’s individual safety requirements. A configuration of various safety products can be constructed including electrical safety gate switches (with or without guard locking), mechanical trapped key interlocks and push-button controls which can all be integrated into a single device. Similarly, with its unrivalled choice of control options including e-stops, push-buttons, LED lamps and selector switches, customers can create simple machine control stations, replacing the need for engineers to construct their own DIY push-button boxes which can be a very time-consuming activity.
Safeguarding palletisers is of significant importance to food and beverage manufacturers due to the inherent dangers associated with performing maintenance on these systems. There are several reported cases of fatal injuries caused as a result of firms failing to implement basic safety measures. The main danger associated with palletisers is the lack of visibility. For example, these incidents occur when an operator enters the machine, typically to clear a blockage, and a colleague inadvertently restarts the machine unaware that anyone is inside. Such unnecessary fatalities can be avoided by incorporating safety keys into the interlocking device. These keys are retained on the operator’s person while they remain on the inside of the machine to effectively protect against inadvertent machine restart.
Robust solutions offer better reliability
However, food and beverage manufacturers regularly implement cost-saving exercises in order to produce products as efficiently as possible. This also applies to the machinery and associated safety systems installed in their production facilities. Prior to installing tGard, many companies would use plastic alternatives that would frequently need to be replaced. tGard’s compact metal bodied construction offers a more robust solution at a price point that allows customers to use a stronger product without breaking the bank. Furthermore, each unit has a total of only four fixings and can be supplied with a quick disconnect, making installation effortless.
Whatever the application, tGard is one of the interlocks of choice in food and beverage manufacturing applications.
For more information contact Deebar, +27 (0)11 873 4332, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.deebar.co.za
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