While machine builders
introduce automation and motion to meet more flexible packaging needs, safety
becomes an overriding critical issue.
Today's packaging operations
are expanding at break-neck pace to address a diverse and demanding universe of
applications. Even as the applications proliferate, competition among global
players requires ever shorter development cycles that in turn demand greater
flexibility from packaging equipment suppliers. Yet, while marketplace dynamics
squeeze packaging equipment suppliers, the paramount concern still must remain
a singular focus on operator safety. One standard, B155.1 (see sidebar below),
addresses workplace safety issues and compliance ensures that machine suppliers
offer packaging equipment in tune with today's marketplace.
Machine suppliers must also
possess a thorough understanding of risk and its ramifications in packaging
operations. Adequate safeguards that anticipate integration in automated
environments must be inherent in design and build decisions, yet cost must
still be contained. Orchestrating safety, engineering excellence, and cost will
minimize risk. When properly balanced the packaging equipment will be ready for
OSHA compliance, insurance company requirements, union leaders, or safety
committees with full documentation.
Engineering firms that supply
packaging equipment must have legacy knowledge in sensor technology, control
and communication, motion control, operation and monitoring, software, training,
and support. At the same time their experience must encompass plant assessment,
risk assessment, safety concepts, inspection of electro sensitive equipment,
system implementation, safety validation, international certification and CE
marking. Since all these technologies and concepts interact, a holistic approach
that blends components and systems with packaging operations will satisfy each
unique packaging challenge with an appropriate solution.
To meet automation, motion
control, and safety goals while offering flexible solutions, packaging
equipment should reflect a deep engineering knowledge along with a commitment
to established safety standards. Then inspired development will protect man,
the machine, and the environment.
This standard is approved by
ANSI and is harmonized to other recognizable standards such as ISO 12100 and
ISO 14121. It addresses safety requirements for packaging machinery and
packaging related converting machinery.
The standard sets minimum
requirements on several important issues relating to packaging machinery
safety. It defines specific safety areas such as: responsibilities;
requirements for design, contruction, installation, operation, and maintenance
of the machinery; risk assessment on packaging equipment; safeguarding of
packaging equipment; running the packaging equipment; training on the packaging
equipment; and personal protective equipment.
Pilz certified safety
consultants can provide conformance analysis to the B155.1 packaging equipment
standard. After performing risk assessment, Pilz engineering will recommend
practical safeguarding solutions to ensure that safety and production become an
integrated process. Then the consultant group will design, build, and install
recommended safeguards and control measures with a final safety signoff to
certify compliance with the B155.1 standard. Learn more about the Pilz range of
consulting and training services at www.pilz.us.