HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
Blog

Slideshow: Plant Safety Takes Center Stage in Factory Automation

NO RATINGS
View Comments: Oldest First|Newest First|Threaded View
Page 1/4  >  >>
Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Blogger
Worker safety a must
Beth Stackpole   1/30/2012 6:25:32 AM
NO RATINGS
Rob: Thanks for spotlighting what appears to be a wide range of technologies promoting increased safety on the plant floor. One in particular that I'm curious about is the second slide on ExpertOperator. What exactly is a virtual safety wall that can surround equipment? Hadn't heard of that capability before.

Jennifer Campbell
User Rank
Gold
Re: Worker safety a must
Jennifer Campbell   1/30/2012 9:35:24 AM
NO RATINGS
Rob: I'd be very interested to read more about ExpertOperator, as well. How did you learn about it?

TJ McDermott
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Worker safety a must
TJ McDermott   1/30/2012 10:08:34 AM
NO RATINGS
It sounds like a fancy way of saying light curtains, or laser area scanners.

TJ McDermott
User Rank
Blogger
Who will maintain these systems?
TJ McDermott   1/30/2012 10:13:00 AM
NO RATINGS
In my experience, I've seen factory maintenance skills gradually decline, and with it the education/knowledge necessary to keep the factory running.  This is not a slam against the workers, but against management policies and wages offered.

The result of the lowest-cost is best policy is that the maintenance department no longer has the skills necessary to monitor and troubleshoot modern networked safety systems.

naperlou
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Who will maintain these systems?
naperlou   1/30/2012 10:37:56 AM
NO RATINGS
TJ, I think the idea is to make these systems modular and self diagnosing.  Putting intelligence into the safety system components will help the maintenance team cope with more complex systems.

TJ McDermott
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Who will maintain these systems?
TJ McDermott   1/30/2012 10:42:43 AM
NO RATINGS
Oh, I agree, and understand the concept, naperlou.  The reality is a complicated computer network on top of regular electrical troubleshooting.  The self-diagnosis goes only so far, and then a human must begin tracing the circuits, which will include Ethernet problems on top of simple switch or relay failures.

The wages offered for such a skill set simply aren't enough to retain a good maintenance technician.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Worker safety a must
Rob Spiegel   1/30/2012 1:12:00 PM
NO RATINGS
They are cool, Beth. They are called different things by different suppliers. You may have heard of them referred to as safety curtains. It is an electronic field that senses when something enters the field. When it's breeched, it shuts down the machinery. So you can't stick your arm into a moving conveyor without having the conveyor shut down.

What's new in this technology is that the curtains are closer to the machinery, the machinery shuts down more quickly, and less of the line shuts down during a breech. That means fewer false trips, quicker response, and less loss of production.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Who will maintain these systems?
Rob Spiegel   1/30/2012 1:33:30 PM
NO RATINGS
Interesting comment, TJ. I cover the technology as it emerges, but the available technology is not necessarily what gets deployed in plants. Maintenance technology is advancing impressively. Prognostics and diagnostics catch problems before they happen. Predictive maintenance delivers efficiencies in that parts get replaced due to wear, not due to timing. The vendors insist these tools pay for themselves with predictable ROI. But of course, that doesn't mean a plant will deploy this new technology.

Alexander Wolfe
User Rank
Blogger
Safety as a product
Alexander Wolfe   1/30/2012 1:33:36 PM
NO RATINGS
Just a side note that at ALL the companies I visited in 2011, the subject of safety came up. It's a big item that companies want to implement and it's also something they want to "sell," by building safety features into their products as well as being provably "designed for safety."  A lot of this has been spurred by European regulations, which are currently tougher than U.S. regs as regards safety. Regardless of the reason(s), safety is a huge check-list item and in fact can almost be categorized as a technology in and of itself (though it's really a property, not a technology).

Charles Murray
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Worker safety a must
Charles Murray   1/30/2012 6:56:41 PM
NO RATINGS
I, too, like the ExpertOperator. Anyone who has ever operated an industrial crane knows how easily an accident can happen.

Page 1/4  >  >>
Partner Zone
More Blogs
An Israeli design student has created a series of unique pieces of jewelry that can harvest energy from default movements of the body and even use human blood as a way to conduct energy.
If you see a hitchhiker along the road in Canada this summer, it may not be human. That’s because a robot is thumbing its way across our neighbor to the north as part of a collaborative research project by several Canadian universities.
Stanford University researchers have found a way to realize what’s been called the “Holy Grail” of battery-design research -- designing a pure lithium anode for lithium-based batteries. The design has great potential to provide unprecedented efficiency and performance in lithium-based batteries that could substantially drive down the cost of electric vehicles and solve the charging problems associated with smartphones.
Help us recognize engineers who are ahead of the trends and making big moves in the design engineering community.
Robots in films during the 2000s hit the big time; no longer are they the sidekicks of nerdy character actors. Robots we see on the big screen in recent years include Nicole Kidman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Eddie Murphy. Top star of the era, Will Smith, takes a spin as a robot investigator in I, Robot. Robots (or androids or cyborgs) are fully mainstream in the 2000s.
Design News Webinar Series
7/23/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
7/17/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
6/25/2014 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
5/13/2014 10:00 a.m. California / 1:00 p.m. New York / 6:00 p.m. London
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
Aug 18 - 22, Embedded Software Development With Python & the Raspberry Pi
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Next Class: September 30 - October 2
Sponsored by Altera
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2014 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service