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Safety Components for Automation Controls

     In the world of automation controls, there are a variety of devices and methods that are used as safety measures to assist a manufacturing facility in providing a safe environment for operators and associated personnel.  Here is a list, with pictures, of many safety devices currently available.

 

1.     E-stops – Provides an emergency stop push button (typically red) that may be pushed if an operator senses danger or needs to immediately halt a machine’s operations. It needs to be reset to restart operations, often requiring a reset button to also be pushed. 

2.      Light curtains – Provides a barrier with beams of light from one source to a target so that if the sensing field is interrupted (broken) a machine will shut down or go into an alarm condition. These devices can be programmed to allow a “blanking effect” for areas in the beam that are deemed safe, versus other areas that require a halt. They are often used to eliminate the need for fencing/hard guarding in a work area that needs access on a regular basis. These can also be used with a corner mirror to provide a double area of protection, such as a 90 ° configuration. 

3.      Laser scanners — Provides a 180-degree wide path beam that scans a pre-programmed area to determine if an object has entered that space close enough to either (1) slow machine to a crawl or (2) stop the machine completely, depending on distances allowed for safety. 

 

 

4.     Safety Mats – Provides a pressure-sensitive, rubberized, safety mat that an operator will either (1) need to stand on to continue to use a machine or (2) step onto in order to halt a machine. Typically, choice 1 is used as it is a more fail-safe way of operating.

 

5.     Safety Edges – Provides a pressure-sensitive area near the edge of a door or machine that can be used to shut down or reverse a device or whole machine when touched. A Bulletin 440F Safedge Safety Edge Profile is shown below. These are often used at the bottom edge of a door to assure nothing or no-one gets trapped under it as it is closing. 

6.     Safety chains/rope (Cable Pull) – Provides a means of E-stops via a rope or chain that, when pulled or stretched, will trigger a shutdown or halting of a machine’s action. This will need to be reset in order to reestablish action again.

 

7.     Interlock Switches – Provides a physical interlocking of guard doors and equipment so that if the safety switch is interrupted, the machine or a function of operation will stop and require a reset to resume action. Some examples of these are guard locking, hinge, tongue interlock, limit switches, trapped key, or non-contact switches such as proximity switches.


 

 8.     Kick Plates – Provide a means, down near the floor, that an operator can touch with their foot to stop the action of a machine. Depending on how it is set up, this can halt a portion of the machine or halt the entire machine. Typically, a limit switch is used in conjunction with a metal plate that will swing up against the switch to activate  it. 

 

 9.     Hand Detection Sensors – Provides a means of making sure an operator is holding/pressing the safety sensor to continue operating the hazardous function of a machine. Often a two-hand control set of devices can be utilized to provide an extra safety measure, requiring both hands on the controls to start or continue a function.   

 

                 a)       Grip Enabling Switch (see below) ­

 

  

     These grip Switches can be used as part of the conditions required to allow safe working inside a machine guard. They are lightweight and ergonomically designed for easy use. The standard model includes two independent, three-position, switches which are actuated by squeezing a trigger. Models are also available with an optional jog button or dual channel E-Stop button. 

 

b)      Reflective Safety Sensor — Provides a reflective hand detection at the opening of a hazardous machine access point to a work cell. (i.e. an SC300 safety sensor creates a detection plane in an opening of various shapes and sizes.)

 

 

 

 

1    10.      Safety Relays — Safety relays monitor a safety system and either allow the machine to start, or execute commands to stop, the machine or control safety-related functions. From simple safety functions to fully integrated systems, several ranges of solutions are available.

11.     Safety PLCs – A Safety Programmable Controller is a combination of at least 2 PLCs that provides redundancy and extra protection in case of failure. Many of these would integrate with Guard I/O modules 

to expand the number of safety devices to be detected or controlled.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

12.     Audible/Visual Devices — Horns or lights or similar devices can provide warnings to operators. 

 
 
 
 
 
 


 
—  For more information on installing these and other automated safety devices contact Paul Myers at Segars Engineering

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Segars Engineering is looking for an experienced Structural/Civil Engineer to join our interdisciplinary team at our satellite office in Covington, Virginia. The winning candidate should have a BS in Civil Engineering from an accredited school plus 5-10 years of related experience. An MS in Structural engineering as well as a Virginia PE would be ideal but not required. Exposure to both civil and structural work is a plus, as is construction management experience. The ideal candidate would possess the following qualities:

  • Field experience and aptitude.  A desire to excel at identifying problems and solutions in a light or heavy industrial environment.
  • Experience with creating, reading, and editing structural and civil drawings.  Architectural, piping and equipment drawing experience a plus.
  • Skilled at data collection (field measurements), analysis and optimizing structures to improve overall performance.
  • The ability to lead capital project teams in ensuring that all project success criteria are met.
  • Engineering/construction contractor interface experience.
  • Familiarity with AutoCAD and/or Autodesk Revit modeling programs.
  • Familiarity with capital project feasibility studies, budgetary estimates and alternatives analysis.
  • Manage scheduling, invoicing, cost control and closeout of all capital projects.
  • Able to provide engineering oversight from concept to completion.
  • Maintaining continuing education, advancing, and evaluating new civil and structural technologies.
  • Able to reduce complex problems to simple set of solutions.
  • Able to communicate technical and business information effectively.
  • Able to communicate clearly, both verbally and in writing, for both construction and managerial decision-making.
  • Coach, develop, and mentor direct reports of all experience levels.


JOB REQUIREMENTS:

  • BS in Civil/Structural Engineering with 5-10 years experience.
  • Masters or EIT desired.  (PE preferred.)
  • Expertise in AutoCAD, Revit, and RISA 3D modeling desired.
  • Physical ability to climb stairs, ladders and navigate equipment platforms.
  • Must be a US citizen or permanent resident.


COMPENSATION:

Segars Engineering strives to compensate all employees in the top 25th percentile for their particular discipline or area of expertise. We offer IRA contributions, health care and bonus compensation, life insurance plan and reimbursement for spa membership.

Direct all inquiries to info@segarsengineering.com, Subject: Structural Engineer Position

Electrical/Electrical Engineer

Segars Engineering is a fast growing design firm located in Charlottesville, VA. The firm is focused on providing 3D designs to a growing list of well-known industrial clients. Our motto is "See it, Solve it!" because we believe that seeing the problem is the first step towards a solution. This position may be eligible for…
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