Safety-first approach paramount in manufacturing industry

The Endeavour Awards evening is an opportunity to network and discuss key topics such as safety.

“All manufacturing processes are different and bring their own unique challenges.” This is what MHE-Demag managing director Vince Di Costanzo has discovered while working at a company that puts safety first and helps other manufacturers implement thorough safety processes in their facilities.

As a finalist of for the Safety Solution of the Year award at the 2018 Endeavour Awards, MHE-Demag rises to the challenge of creating safer environments for Australian workers and internationally. As do the other finalists – Leuze Electronic, Fluidsentry, ReelTech and the winner of the award BOC Australia. All of these companies implement stringent safety standards into the equipment they sell to manufacturers. And with good reason. Di Costanzo said in Australia there is a plethora of occupational safety and health (OH&S) guidelines and best practices that provide invaluable information in regards to creating a safer work environment, yet manufacturers are still confronted with arising safety issues.

“We see on a daily basis how businesses are consciously and cautiously looking at how to manage safety hazards and manage risks. This open mind and awareness of how safety may be impacted inside a workshop is the first and almost most important step in creating safer facilities.

“In general, manufacturers should put safety as their number one priority. Regardless of the service or product any company produces, ensuring that all staff can return home after work should be the most important thing,” he said.

“Safety is our main concern – plain and simple. We realise that the equipment we provide to our clients bear potential risks. Minimising those hazards is the integral part of delivering high quality solutions. Material handling safely requires well-trained operators as well as equipment that the user can trust,” said Di Costanzo.

Maintaining high safety standards is done by implementing checklists and procedures, but also by using the safest equipment possible, which the finalists of the Safety Solution of the Year award create to make better functioning workplaces.

“Looking at safety through the eyes of a company, having equipment and facilities that aid safe working proves to be an invaluable investment,” said Di Costanzo.

“While upfront cost may seem to be high to implement these machines and facilities, the lack of incidences and interruptions in the production flow is the return that will come from high safety standards.” MHE-Demag sells KBK Light Crane systems, which reduce the risk of back injuries for workers by letting a machine do the heavy lifting. It is an ergonomic material handling system that led to the company’s success as an Endeavour Awards finalist.

Safety products come small and large

While MHE-Demag’s machinery helps move large-scale products, the smallest of safety equipment can also go to great lengths to help keep manufacturers safe. Fluidsentry, which offers hydraulic and pneumatic systems, was a finalist for its PX2M 1⁄2” pneumatic safety valve system. Fluidsentry operations manager Jason Hodges said encouraging safety consciousness and installing safety equipment encourages the right workplace culture.

“Whatever your outcome will be, if you start with safety at the forefront of your mind it will help in the long-run.” Thinking about safety from the moment the business is created invites a culture that puts precedence on safety, he said.

Fluidsentry was started by Hodges’ father, Murray Hodges, who saw a gap in the market while he was working as an electrician more than 20 years ago. “He was working for Holden and at the time the engineer said to him, ‘We’ve got electric safety equipment but there’s no safety equipment for pneumatics’,” said Hodges. In 2000, after extensive research and development, the company’s first monitored pneumatic safety valve was produced using positive driven high precision safety switching for the monitoring function.

“Over the last 20 years, he’s grown that range to have full pneumatics safety equipment. The gear offers peace of mind to employers, operators and managers as failures are minimised,” said Hodges. Fluidsentry has continued to develop new solutions to assist industry in complying with AS4024.1 and ISO 13849 requirements.

Investing in long-term benefits 

BOC Australia, the winner of the Safety Solution of the Year award in 2018, invested heavily into creating a $15 million robot cylinder automation system. The system keeps BOC’s staff safe while they work around gas cylinders on a daily basis.

BOC South Pacific managing director John Evans said BOC believes in embracing a new era of advanced manufacturing. It is vital for BOC’s long-term success and the company will continue to invest to ensure it meets the needs of its customers and staff long into the future, he said.

“With safety as our number one priority, it is rewarding to see our world-leading robot cylinder automation system recognised for safety excellence. It has almost eliminated the risk of manual handling injuries to our staff, while setting a new standard in safety across the global industrial gases industry.”

The robot cylinder automation system was part of a larger investment into a specialty gases production facility at its Sydney operations centre in Wetherill Park.

Leuze Electronic and ReelTech’s investments in safety products also gave them a place on the safety leaderboard at the 2018 Endeavour Awards. Leuze Electronic was recognised for its MLC 530 Smart Process Gating and ReelTech was recognised for its Pit Bull reel. The hose reel is Australian designed and incorporates a gearbox that assists towards a safe rewind speed.

A week dedicated to manufacturing

The Endeavour Awards evening is taking place during National Manufacturing Week (NMW) – a week dedicated to Australian manufacturers who achieve more by building connections, learning about new technologies and collaborating to create success in the industry.

Held from May 14-17, in Melbourne, NMW is celebrating its 20th anniversary. More than 200 companies from around the world will feature innovative technologies and services.

The exhibition floor will be divided into six product zones to help visitors navigate the range of products and services on offer. These zones are engineering, industrial internet of things, automation and robotics, safety, welding technology, and manufacturing solution.

The topics at NMW relate directly to those celebrated at the Endeavour Awards 2019. To be a part of the awards, companies can submit nominations online at www.endeavourawards.com.au. This year’s categories are:

Best Industrial IoT Application, which is assessed on the extent and quality of a company’s use of smart factories implementing Industrial IoT applications to assist in the areas of operations and manufacturing,

Excellence in Manufacturing Skills Development, which evaluates companies on the strength of their manufacturing skills development programs,

Global Supply Chain Integration of the Year, which evaluates nominees on their unique experience or products that allow them to successfully access the global supply chain,

Most Innovative Manufacturing Company, which evaluates nominees’ products and their points of difference to other available products designed for industrial applications,

Outstanding Start-Up, which evaluates companies on what they bring to the manufacturing sector,

Safety Solution of the Year, which evaluates companies on how their development, technology or initiative ensures that safety is paramount,

Australian Industrial Product of the Year, which evaluates companies on their Australian made or designed products and their points of difference to other available products designed for industrial application,

Environmental Solution of the Year, which evaluates nominees on how their development, technology or initiative has made a positive impact to environmental sustainability in manufacturing,

Technology Application, which evaluates companies on how their new technology application provides a benefit to the industry and the broader community,

Manufacturer of the Year, which is awarded to one trailblazer that stands out for excellent innovation in the areas of technology, management and product development. All companies who submit entries across all categories of the 2019 Endeavour Awards are eligible for this award.