Design Your Safety System for Better Uptime

Design Your Safety System for Better Uptime

Familiarity with LOTO standards can yield significant cost savings.

By Steve Ludwig, commercial program manager, Safety, Rockwell Automation

Does it feel as though safety and productivity are at odds with each other?

If you said yes, you’re not alone. Safety traditionally has been associated with compliance, while productivity has been associated with competitiveness — both with separate, sometimes competing, paths to meet specified goals.

Start with Design

Rather than using a bolt-on solution, designing safety into your machinery upfront can produce a more holistic system that can be optimized for faster recovery.

In fact, incorporating integrated safety technologies in the design stage can increase machinery availability, reduce mean time to repair (MTTR) and improve productivity. Safety and productivity in one package? That’s a significant value for end users.

Lockout/Tagout Improvements Can Save Millions

When talking about a place to start, here’s where you can help end users save real money: a typical lockout/tagout (LOTO) downtime event.

Consider an improvement of just one minute to an entire LOTO process that averages 12 minutes. This improvement is about 8% of the current MTTR, but the savings add up over time.

If the production value per minute equals $1,000, and a manufacturer has an average of eight downtime events per day in 350 production days per year, the savings would amount to $2.8 million annually.

Here’s how that looks:

  • minute of gained uptime per event
  • $1,000 production value per minute
  • 2,800 downtime events per year
  • 1 minute x $1,000 x 2,800 events = $2.8 million improved production annually

Understand and Work with Standards

Both U.S. and Canadian standards require LOTO during machinery servicing to prevent unexpected start-up, energization or release of stored energy that could cause injury. That often means performing the exhaustive LOTO process several times per day for servicing events.

The standards, however, do provide exceptions for minor tool changes and adjustments and other minor servicing activities.

When you understand the standards (including ANSI/ASSE Z244.1 and CSA Z460) and alternative measures, that’s when you can achieve significant productivity gains.

The whitepaper, "Design Your Safety System for Improved Uptime," (PDF) will guide you through some of the core contemporary safety technologies, relevant standards and industry application examples — all with the goal of maximizing safety while enhancing machinery uptime.

It’s part of a larger body of work and a key consideration for developing smart machines and equipment.

The Journal From Rockwell Automation and Our PartnerNetwork™ is published by Putman Media, Inc.


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The JOURNAL from Rockwell Automation and Our PartnerNetwork™ is a bimonthly magazine, published by Putman Media, Inc., designed to educate engineers about leading-edge industrial automation methods, trends and technologies.