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.