Planning a safety system upgrade can be tricky and can be detrimental to your plant’s productivity. Therefore, it is vital that a clear and concise procedure be followed, right from initial conversion to final validation.
For starters, safety system upgrade begins with a comprehensive risk assessment carried out by a trained and certified safety engineer. It is quite common for the engineer to come from the company’s liability insurance carrier while there are independent organizations as well that offer these services such as TUV and UL. Once this has been carried out, the level of protection will govern the amount of safety necessary to prevent a major disaster, e.g. relays, e-stops, area scanners, etc. Large companies often provide a detailed list of components required and also offer necessary training with integration.
We have jotted down seven major steps in an orderly fashion that can help you plan a successful safety upgrade:
- Carry out a detailed risk assessment of each machine, interconnected system and component, while using the existing record of injuries to determine the root cause.
- As per the results of the assessment, work in collaboration with the safety engineer to determine the level of upgrade each machine requires. This can be determined by the level of assessed risk and probability of injury.
- Work in conjunction with a reputable distributor that offers a range of safety products fulfilling all or most of the needs.
- Obtain electrical schematics of each machine, which will help with integration of safety components. If necessary, contact the manufacturers of the machines. It is very much possible that the machine builders have an upgrade offering that can retrofit with the existing equipment.
- For interconnected complex systems, develop a safety schematic showing how the devices interact with the system, incorporating the processing units as well as the interlocking devices.
- If a safety-trained electrician is not available in-house, render the services of an integration company. There will be an overhead attached with this option, but the results will guarantee protection.
- Last, but definitely not the least, record all steps carried out during the process into a thorough documentation, which will help with future upgrades and maintenance activities.
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