Production’s rolling! Safely

Safely rolling production

Pilz supports the food and beverage industry with its automation solutions and expertise. Food & Beverage Industry News reports. In production areas, where humans and machines encounter each other, there is always a certain risk potential.

That is all the more so in the paper processing industry, where for instance – as is the case for Austrian cardboard packaging manufacturer Mosburger – the changing of paper reels weighing hundreds of kilos for the production of corrugated board presents a great danger for the operator, given that manual intervention in the process is essential.

To reduce this risk to a minimum, the manufacturer of cardboard packaging is relying on a safety solution from automation developer Pilz.

Accepted solution versus loss of productivity

Handling paper reels weighing tonnes is inherently dangerous. What is more, for reasons of space the production facility had to be built “the wrong way round”.

“The plant was not set up in the usual way,” said Bernhard Dionysio, head of maintenance at Mosburger.

“We have to load the machine from the operator side. The manufacturer of the ma-chine could not come up with any other technical solution.”

“The wrong way round” in this case means that the paper reels coming out of the warehouse must cross the operating area on rails.”

This occurs at a correspondingly slow speed, of course, but there is still a residual risk, particularly because direct human intervention is required when changing over the reels on the machines: the operator prepares the paper reels and starts the process of insertion by pressing a button.

“Unfortunately, the safety system supplied by the plant manufacturer did not meet the expectations of our employees, forcing us to switch from an impractical automatic mode to slower manual operation,” added Dionysio.

This entailed a considerable loss of performance. What was needed was a safe solution that was accepted by the operator but did not require any manipulation.

To meet this challenge, Mosburger approached automation and safety expert Pilz, who designed and implemented the solution now in place, including the hardware and software components.

The responsible engineers at Mosburger were convinced by the complete package from Pilz, comprising software tools, diagnostic and visualisation systems and automation solutions ranging from sensor and control technology through to actuator technology.

A functioning and accepted safety system for changing the paper reels was finally jointly developed over a six-month process.

All-round safety thanks to safe complete solution

A network of sensors and scanners is installed around the area where the paper reels are brought into the line.

Today the whole area is protected to such an extent that no one can enter the safety zone around the machine unnoticed. At the heart of the solution is the automation system PSS 4000 from Pilz.

Even with such complex requirements, this system offers the possibility of combining the requirements of safety and automation. Instead of a central control, there is a user program which enables multiple distributed controllers to be handled easily and centrally.

PSS 4000 allows several controllers with equal rights to be connected to each other and synchronised according to the multi- master principle.

Also, part of the solution are the RFID safety switches PSENcode, which monitor the access doors; multiple scanners detect violations of the detection zone, while analogue sensors record the very different paper reel diameters.

“If someone goes into the safety zone, the process is stopped immediately,” explained August Hauser, head of manufacturing at Dunapack-Packaging.

The safety zone can only be reset by acknowledgment on the control panel.

To ensure that the paper reels can go into this safety zone in automatic mode without violating it, the diameter of the reel is measured, and a muting area is then opened in the detection zone. As soon as the reel has passed the muting area, is closed again.

The approach taken by Pilz gives equal consideration to safety for people and for the machine.

Today, the automation system PSS 4000 is at the heart of the solution, working in conjunction with the coded safety switches PSENcode to provide automated safety. Streamlined work flows and short downtimes are the other benefits.

“Pilz were very good to work with – from engineering through to the implementation phase,” said Bernhard Dionysio, head of maintenance at Dunapack Packaging.

“The comparison and exchange with Pilz experts went really well. You can’t always take it for granted that things will run so smoothly.”

Pilz has built a successful reputation as a global supplier of automation components, systems, and services.

The company motto of never compromising when it comes to safety across the work force, machines, and environment.

This is apparent in each product and solution developed by Pilz for the food and beverage industry. With a clear focus on customer needs and providing cutting-edge technology at the best quality possible.

As a third-generation family business, Pilz prides itself on knowing the importance of factory safety and providing hands-on and reliable service to its customers.

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