And I mean that literally…if you have a manufacturing job such as power press operator, you really do not need or want to donate any fingers or limbs to the plant. But this does happen…and often!
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), 49% of the injuries from mechanical power presses resulted in an amputation. Ow! That’s a lot of missing digits!
With a decreasing skilled workforce and the uptick in lean manufacturing principles, there seems to be a matching increased need for better safety technology in manufacturing facilities.
Manufacturers really benefit from working directly with machine builders to integrate a combination of safety solutions right into the machine such as interlocks, hard guarding, palm stations or light curtains, and camera-based safety systems designed for press brake machines.
Light curtains have been used successfully for decades. They provide protection at the point of operation, full visibility at the point of operation, can eliminate the need for lockout/tagout during die changes, and reduce maintenance as compared to mechanical barriers.
Safety light curtains today are flexible, cost-effective solutions that can be ordered in a variety of resolutions, protective heights and variables from simple beam breaks to fixed, floating and dynamic blanking for complex and multi-mode safety applications.
The newer camera-based systems employ a sender and a receiver mounted on the upper beam of a press which safe guards the punch during the fast downward movement. It sends a signal to the press controller to stop the closing movement of the press as soon as an object such as a hand or finger is detected. Voila…no digits left on the floor!
Improved safety can play a role in cutting waste, increasing quality, and reducing costs. The newest safety technologies are integrated into the streamlining and automation processes. There’s no downside for the employee or the employer.
If you have invested in light curtains for your plant that's great news. Even better news is that they can usually be repaired rather than replaced saving you money.
If you find you need light curtain repairs for out of warranty light curtains, look for a third-party industrial electronic repair shop with lots of experience.
The best repair shops will offer free evaluations, accurate quotes, warranties on both the parts and the labor, rush service as needed, and excellent customer service.
Common manufacturers of light curtains include: SICK repairs, STI repairs, Allen Bradley, Banner and many others.