Your Machines are Automated, So Why Aren’t the Machine Safety Guards?

Robotic process automation in the manufacturing industry has really taken off, so robots and fully automated systems can be found in new applications and in almost every industry. Every day, robotic integrators are building machines that improve productivity, output and quality controls - is machine safety keeping up, too?
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Your Machines are Automated, So Why Aren’t the Machine Safety Guards?

More machines are capable of automation and advanced robotics

Robots can help manufacturers by reducing labor costs and unscheduled downtime, all while increasing output (since robots can work all day long). Advancements in manufacturing technology also lead to automations that are easier to program and, likewise, make it easier to switch tasks and scale as a business. Robots in the facility can also improve quality control and workplace cleanliness or sterilization.

Any machine with an obvious point-of-operation is capable of integrating with some level of robotics. Consider the following examples of machines that currently require point-of-operation guarding, but could be automated or upgraded using smart manufacturing:

  • Guillotine Saw Cutters with automated feeds
  • Shearing Machine with automated calculations, functions and material specifications
  • Power Heat Press Machine with computer aided manufacturing software
  • Milling Machines or Lathe Machines with loading/unloading robots
  • Power Saw Machine with programmable work piece feed and cutting cycle
  • Jointers integrated with nesting software
  • Roll Forming Machine with robotic transportation between stations
  • Revolving drums, barrels, and containers managed through IIoT systems, like Opti-Vu or Dok-Vu

 

Automated machines requiring manual machine guarding safety processes are counter-intuitive

The machines themselves are becoming smarter, automated and fully robotic. Even so, OSHA’s standards have not changed. The goal remains that we should do our best to guard all machinery and equipment to eliminate hazards created by points-of-operation, ingoing nip points, rotating points, and flying chips and sparks.

If the machine still requires an employee to operate the safety guard, it’s no longer a fully automatic process and the odds of worker injury are therefore increased. Robotic integrators  and OEM machine builders know that every automated piece of equipment or robotically-operated machine go hand-in-hand with equally smart safety measures.

 

Machine Guarding Safety Options that are Smart Enough for Your Automations

The right safety guard for your machine will be fully customizable and guard your employees, the machine itself, the machines nearby and the materials. It will predict and account for application driven hazards including airborne debris, heat, fumes, smoke, sparks, accidental discharge, spray/mist/fluids and mechanical movement.

Automated machine guards can accomplish all of the above while requiring less manual interaction. Less machine/human contact also reduces operator fatigue and operator error.

Rite-Hite Automated Barrier Doors and Industrial Safety Doors protect personnel by containing the process and restricting access to dangerous robot/machine movement. Rite-Hite's Automated Safety Curtains protect employees from secondary hazards associated with your manufacturing processes, like robotic welding/fixed automation, production lines, machine centers, robotic machine tending applications, cutting systems, environmental separation, clean room applications, CNC routers, etc.

Importantly, all products can be integrated into existing controls to completely automate the manufacturing process. Robotic integrators and OEM machine builders can call 866-852-1500 to contact our Regional Sales Office to learn more about customized solutions.

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