The value of Machine Safety extends far beyond safe plant operations and reduced compensation costs. The concept is essentially a kick-starter for productivity and innovation, while simultaneously providing worthy data that can be used to gather insights into operations. There are multiple ways in which installation of machine safety apparatus – software and hardware – can sharpen the competitive edge of an organization.
First and foremost, implementation of safety functions brings down unplanned downtime within plant operations. This boosts productivity by speeding up tasks that would otherwise be adversely affected by a shutdown. Furthermore, since the machine doesn’t need to be powered on again, operators don’t have to go through the SOPs for restarting production.
Safety-ethernet protocols such as CIPSafety on Sercos help site engineers troubleshoot issues with plant assets. These protocols make use of the same wire that is used for motion commands, meaning all safety data is transferred reliably. As a result, the user has clearer visibility of the system, which helps in actions such as predictive maintenance. Machine builders can also integrate safety diagnostics that can help end-users identify wiring errors through visual inspection of the inputs/outputs. Finally, as the same software is used for commissioning, programming and troubleshooting, the overall life-cycle of the project is manageable.
Safety functions can allow machines to be operated in a safe state that essentially halts operations if need be. This reduces the amount of scrap, which would otherwise be produced in the absence of safety functions. As the process is stopped in a controlled manner, it can be restarted from the same point rather than initiating a new production batch. This ultimately brings down monetary losses, improving the company’s revenue stream.
Reduced Floor spacing
The footprint of a machine can be reduced if safety functions are integrated with motor technology. Cabinet-free design means the component density of the product can be improved, making the machine lean and more efficient. Moreover, shorter reaction times can be achieved that can allow user interjections if necessary.
Increased Operator Safety
Above all, machine safety ensures that the operator works with peace of mind and liberty. When safety technology is applied, it keeps the operator safe, which automatically translates into boosted productivity. The user no longer fears for his/her life and can use his/her intellect to improve current processes. Apart from that, if a skilled operator is injured during an accident, it results in downtime until a suitable replacement is found. This can directly affect the company’s ability to fulfill orders and even the quality of the end-product.
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