Manufacturing News

Endeavours: Companies put safety first in the workplace

Finalists for this year’s Endeavour Awards in the safety scheme of the year award, sponsored by Sick Sensor Intelligence, have been announced. Keeping workers safe is a major priority for these companies.

Amcor Beverage Cans

Project: Manufacturing Facility Safety Upgrade

AMCOR recently embarked on a multi-stage safety upgrade at its Revesby beverage can manufacturing facility in NSW.

The first stage of the safety upgrade included the redesign and replacement of the facility’s safety control system architecture.

Prior to the upgrade, the company’s 11 bodymakers and trimmers was guarded by three separate hard-wired pneumatic guarding systems, each incorporating a series of relays and pneumatic switches. On occasion, these pneumatic switches would fail in the open position, raise a ‘false alarm’ and cause the line to shut down.

The company installed an Allen-Bradley GuardLogix safety controller from automation group, Rockwell Automation.

Featuring a` two-processor safety architecture, the GuardLogix safety controller provides integrated safety and conventional control within the one platform.

The control solution comprises a seamless network of controllers, Category 4-compliant DeviceNet Safety communications and distributed I/O. EtherNet/IP connectivity provides interlocking between machines, and links the GuardLogix controllers to the factory’s supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system.

Both standard and safety control of each of the 11 bodymaker/trimmer pairs will now be managed by 11 individual GuardLogix controllers. The high-speed of the Logix platform means that the second PLC per bodymaker/trimmer pair is no longer required. This integrated control architecture helps provide Amcor with increased levels of safety functionality and enables easy system expansion.

The safety upgrade has allowed Amcor to implement a more streamlined safety control solution, for when an alarm is raised, the controllers allow technicians to immediately pinpoint the tripped switch.

The technology allows Amcor to simulate real-life control scenarios and view system architectures, without making any physical connections. This made it an efficient way to train Amcor staff during system design, set-up and commissioning and made programming easier and more efficient.

Australian Synchrotron Company

Project: Australian Synchrotron

THE Australian Synchrotron, located in Victoria, accelerates electrons to almost the speed of light.

The light is channelled down beamlines to experimental workstations where it is used for research and enables many forms of material research to be performed.

To ensure the safety of workers at the facility, an electronic access control system was implemented. Consisting of a series of logical interlocks, the system is designed to ensure “search and secure” operation is complete before allowing synchrotron radiation to enter via photon shutters into a lead enclosure containing the experiment.

As this is a new facility, the safety system needed to be in place before any experimental work could commence. Any incident involving synchrotron radiation is unacceptable and would result in the facility being shutdown. An analysis of the required safety was performed to show the required level of safety components, and then conservatively applied.

The company elected to use a higher safety (SIL3 or CAT4) rated components and methodologies throughout, even though our analysis showed lower safety (SIL2) would be adequate. A series of door interlocks and electromagnetically operated locks was used on lead shielded doors and enclosures to ensure that the area was able to be reliably controlled. A lock down procedure lead was developed and a set of near universal user interfaces designed,

Once the area is secured, all doors closed and all systems secure, then and only then may the photon shutters be opened and the work may proceed. Should a safety system lock be forced, then the entire synchrotron will be shut down and the area will be safe within about 20 milliseconds. The use of intelligent safety rated components meant that the safety systems cannot be defeated either accidentally or deliberately.

Coastline Kitchens

Project: Waste Handling and Energy Conservation

DUST and fume control is important in any manufacturing operation, but never more so than for the cabinet making industry.

Western Australian cabinet maker Coastline Kitchens recognised there was not enough investment to ensure the safe removal and disposal of MDF dust and investigated new technologies designed and decided on Optiflow technology from Marc Environmental.

Previously, Coastline had a standard bag collection system with a 45kW motor which relied on the industry norm – high-powered suction of dust from areas where the machines were in operation.

By moving away from normal waste handling technology and implementing Optiflow, the company now handles all wood-dust and air borne particles far more effectively in relation to OH&S practices, using much lower pressures (including negative pressure), thereby using less power than what would be required by a comparably sized extraction system it replaced.

In addition, the technology provides the flexibility to add and remove machines without affecting the dynamics of the extraction system. This has been critical during the changeover to the new machinery as well as changes to the system into the future.

Because the flow rate is very low inside the Optiflow, most wood dust from Coastline Kitchen’s processes does not even reach the filter in the first place.

It is the focal point of a complete extraction system that essentially handles the larger bits and pieces by dropping these particulates onto a conveyor within a low pressure chamber.

It all but eliminates the potential for clogging and downtime, the need for cutters to refine large waste, and does away with complicated separating.

Uncle Tobys

Project: Goodman Fielder facility upgrade

GOODMAN Fielder recently upgraded and expanded its soups production facility, with a priority being to maintain high levels of manufacturing processes, hygiene and food safety.

The expansions included the bulk room, minor pre-weigh area, and the mixing area where the main hoppers and mixers are situated.

Working in association with dust control specialist Donaldson Australasia, the engineering team at the Wahgunyah plant in northeast Victoria, wanted to ensure the soups section continued to produce a high quantity throughput and implemented a modern dust containment and extraction system.

Fitted with a weather-proof explosion relief, the unit has been designed to treat dust with a rate of pressure rise between 200 & 300 bar/m/sec. A Dalamatic 1/5/15 dust extraction unit with a 7,000m3 p/h extraction capacity was also installed as part of the system.

It also has a sensor mounted on top of the cover bin to warn if the collection bin is nearing full capacity, and a high-hopper level detector has been included as a double safeguard.

The entire unit is fully insulated and clad to keep dust from reaching dew point, while the hopper also is permanently heated.

For safety control, a fire sprinkler is fitted at the top of the unit and connected to Goodman Fielder’s overall control system. Due to the flammability of the product it handles, the entire system is rated as DIP (Dust Ignition Proof).

Access platforms and ladders are hot dipped galvanised, while the extraction hoods are designed for regular cleaning.

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