How Integrated Visual Management and Remote Monitoring Demystify Machine Safety
Safeguarding machines and personnel is critical to ensuring smooth operation of any manufacturing facility. Effective machine safety systems benefit workers, manufacturers, and employers by reducing lost work days due to injury, reducing liability for employers, and demonstrating employer’s compliance with safety standards to appropriate regulatory agencies. Additionally, OEMs who integrate safeguarding into their machines enjoy a ready market for their easy-to-use, pre-integrated machines. However, machine safety can be complicated and difficult to manage.
Common Safety Challenges
For machine builders and end users alike, machine safety can be daunting, and many safety devices are cumbersome and difficult to use effectively without impacting productivity. Hard guards, such as doors, fences, and other fixed barriers, can reduce ergonomics, take up valuable floor space, and can be difficult to move in response to change.
While hard guarding may be necessary for some applications, many applications can benefit from electronic safety devices, including optical devices like safety light curtains and safety laser scanners. These electronic devices offer many benefits including saving floor space and increasing productivity by improving workstation ergonomics.
However, even with the use of electronic safety devices, there are still challenges. Many electronic safety devices can be difficult to setup and use, and some require complex programming. In addition, once safety devices are implemented, they must be used correctly to ensure reliable safety, and they should be easy for operators to interact with—and not just for ergonomics.
For example, it can be challenging for managers to quickly identify when and where a device has been tripped, which means it can take time to get the line back up and running after an event. Furthermore, safety systems that are difficult to use can make it more likely for operators to try to bypass the system, increasing the risk of
injury and extended downtime.
Safety Simplified: 3 Important Considerations
Despite the complexities of industrial safety systems, safety can be more intuitive. The key is to find solutions that are easy to setup and use correctly and that allow operators to seamlessly interact with the devices. An intuitive safety system combines easy-to-use safety devices with LED indicators that can work together to make managing complex safety systems simpler and more visual.
The following are 3 considerations to keep in mind when choosing a safety system for effectiveness and ease of use.
- Simple Commissioning
- Usability and Management
- Remote Monitoring
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