Given the safety hazards associated with the materials handling equipment at the plant, it was important to provide appropriate guarding between the hazard and operators so the machine could be accessed in safe mode if required. Guardshield® POC Safety Light Curtains provided zone separation for the mill, and the latest Guardmaster® 442G Multifunctional Access Box (MAB) provided an ideal solution for this application. It is an integrated access control and guard locking device which provides a complete safeguarding solution for full body access applications.
The 442G MAB gate access lock has Ethernet/IP connectivity, avoiding the requirement for hardwiring the system. “The MAB provides a pre-built access unit that is easy to install and replaces separate solenoid lock, latch mechanism, mechanical stops, multiple buttons, indicators and emergency stop operator and escape release mechanism, which would all have to be integrated and engineered – the MAB is a simple and economic choice that is pre-engineered and TUV certified to PLe performance level,” explained Simon Johnson, technical consultant for connected components, Rockwell Automation.
The new smart safety solution at Winstone Wallboards provides the flexibility to perform sophisticated safety control. All tasks are available, and rich diagnostic information is captured by the MAB and GuardLogix. Harnessing the power of safety and operational data can substantially improve safety compliance and performance – enabling smart machines for use in The Connected Enterprise and helping to increase productivity and minimise downtime while reducing total cost of ownership.
“The installation and commissioning time was reduced significantly using the MAB. We had approximately 14 days during a planned shutdown to remove the existing system and have the safety upgrade installed and commissioned. Using an integrated safety solution enabled us to achieve this, otherwise we would have struggled to complete it on time. In addition, we integrated the system with other processes onsite and everything was done easily through digital communications,” said Sanders.
“The new solution meets AS/NZ Standard 4024 and provides ease of maintenance and also ease of adjustment. From a maintenance and fault-finding perspective, it has given us great benefits. It is part of a big picture for the plant, moving towards integrated equipment,” said Sanders.
As a result of the solution, downtime due to safety system failure has been reduced. With the old safety system, fault events could take several hours to diagnose; now, with the new Guardlogix based smart safety system, diagnostic information on the state of the safety system is immediately available to the operator and maintenance teams. This facilitates rapid repair and production resumption, resulting in an OEE improvement of 0.3 percent. This means that the safety system provides increased equipment availability to produce for an additional 24 hour period during the year.
Furthermore, the system provides the tools for Winstone Wallboards to drive compliance, while ease of use provides the operator with safe operating procedures whilst enhancing productivity. By incorporating safety information into Environmental Health and Safety management systems, day to day discrepancies between policies and operating procedures can be identified – improving insight into worker behaviour and compliance.