Developing a machine safety application

Improving manufacturing automation systems can benefit from working with partner companies to provide specialist skills. For machine safety, it is important that the partner has the resources, technical expertise, and experience to fulfil all needs.

So found Smurfit Kappa Zedek, a leading producer of corrugated packaging and single pass high-quality display materials. Printing of the packaging can be in full colour using either offset or digital printing. To upgrade the safety of a production line machine, they decided to partner with OMRON Industrial Machine safety products.

A need to upgrade machine safety

One of the key machines at their Deventer production facility folds and glues the corrugated cardboard packages. This machine is over 22 years old and was in need of upgrading to meet current safety standards for protecting workers. They also wanted to ensure they were using the latest, state-of-the-art technology to provide the highest levels of operator safety.

The company conducted a review of the machine together with OMRON on meeting the latest safety regulations. The different legal requirements, CE approval and the validation of the machine were key priorities for the company.

Devising a total solution

OMRON’s total safety services solution included machine risk assessment analyses and the design of the safety solution. This involved analysing the work of operators using the machine and considering the maintenance plans to maintain production efficiency throughout. OMRON oversaw the installation of the upgraded system and provided full validation of the installation and training, relevant technical documents and reports.

Requirements of the new solution included a safety controller, a trapped key system and manual control with position detection. Also included were safety items for the different production areas including emergency stop buttons and sensors.

While OMRON was the main contractor for all aspects of the project, the installation of the electrical side of the safety solution was made by an associate company. The client’s technical services team undertook the mechanical part of the installation. The entire implementation took four days including validation of the solution by OMRON.

Team involvement

To ensure that people could operate in a safe and efficient manner, the workforce needed to be open to new developments. OMRON also ensured that maintenance and production staff were part of the project team from the start. Furthermore, this ensured that people could work safely and well within the new framework.

An important safety aspect of the new solution was the incorporation of safety fencing and the smart automated safety system. This was to ensure that the doors cannot open while the machine is running. The safety fence around the folder-gluer machine operates by individual control buttons in each sector that open and close the doors.

According to Safety manager Huib van de Made. “The operators now have more confidence in all the machine’s safety components. Moreover, OMRON’s team have proved to be the perfect safety partner for us as they have a strong knowledge of the regulations and an in-depth understanding of the technology. It meant that we were able to work with a single vendor that has a strong grasp of both safety laws and automation technology and could execute the full machine safety cycle.”


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