Turnkey machine safety solutions for a safe and compliant working environment

Refurbished Machine Guards for Kolb Machining Centre

Cummins recently purchased a pre-owned Kolb special-purpose machining centre for its plant in Daventry for machining very large engine blocks for high-horsepower (HHP) diesel generators. Procter Machine Guarding won the contract to supply and install a complete set of guards for this machine, reusing and refurbishing what was available from the collection of parts that came with the machine, and fabricating new items as necessary.  Health and safety are very important to Cummins.  Indeed, the company has a Corporate Health, Safety and Environmental Council that is responsible for building a best-in-class safety and environmental organisation across Cummins’ worldwide sites.  With its excellent safety record and a determination to maintain this high standard, the company goes to great lengths to ensure that machinery brought on site will not pose a risk to personnel – but without costs becoming prohibitive.  When pre-owned machinery is purchased, it can be a challenge to ensure that the equipment is safe.

Manufactured in Germany, installed in Italy but unused for several years, the Kolb CNC machine was dismantled when Cummins purchased it – to the extent that nobody was certain whether all of the original guarding was present.  No drawings were available for the guarding and the components had no identifying marks.  Procter Machine Guarding was asked to provide a budget price on the basis of what was known, even though it was unclear how much of the guarding could be reused and how much would have to be designed and fabricated.  In the end, only around 30% of the guarding could be refurbished, yet Procter Machine Guarding kept within the original budget – saving Cummins a considerable amount of money compared with opting for all-new guarding.  Furthermore, Procter Machine Guarding undertook additional work on walkways, platforms and shedding, all to improve safety and ergonomics, and all within the original price.

Before starting on the guard design, Procter’s engineers carefully measured the machine on site at Daventry. Working to the relevant standards, including BS EN 953 (Safety of machinery.  Guards.  General requirements for the design and construction of fixed and movable guards) and BS EN ISO 13857 (Safety of machinery.  Safety distances to prevent hazard zones being reached by upper and lower limbs), the designers proposed a scheme that reused some of the existing guards, modified others and incorporated a number of new guards.  Because Cummins was retaining overall responsibility for the machine’s safety, its engineers checked the designs and agreed on them with Procter’s designers prior to the fabrication work commencing.

Most of the work on the machine related to fixed guards, but there were also some moving guards, including two pairs of unusual guards that open with a parallel motion due to a lack of space for conventional hinged, sliding or rise-and-fall guards.  The operating mechanisms were cleaned, inspected and relubricated as necessary, and the operation of the guards was checked at Procter’s factory prior to delivery.  All glazing in these guards and others on the machine was replaced, complete with new seals.  Steel parts for reuse were stripped, shot blasted and finished in a powder coat to Cummins’ colour specification.

Procter Machine Guarding usually designs guarding in modules such that they can be manhandled without the need for any lifting gear.  Although some of the guarding on the machine was heavier than Procter’s normally manufacturing, the company rose to the challenge and coped easily with the unusually heavy weight guards.

While the guards were being refurbished and replaced as necessary, Cummins took the opportunity to make improvements to the safety features and ergonomics.  For example, inner guarding and platforms were added to aid access for cleaning and maintenance.  Access to the engine block has therefore been improved both as it enters the machine and once it is inside, while the safety of personnel working on and in the vicinity of the machine is assured.

All of the opening guards were equipped with Fortress solenoid locking switches.  The front cantilevered main access gate is interlocked with a solenoid switch, the external tool change access door has a solenoid switch, the internal tool change access door has a cylinder-operated lock, the external sliding door that provides access to services is fitted with limit switches, the pair of rear access doors also has limit switches, and the operators’ access door has a solenoid-operated interlock.  All of the guards were preassembled and checked at Procter’s factory, so everything fitted the first time when the guards were installed on the machine in Daventry.

Having ensured that the guarding complied with the relevant machinery safety standards, Procter Machine Guarding supplied a Declaration of Conformity for the guards in line with the requirements of the Machinery Directive.

Gary Daniels, a Control Systems Engineer with Cummins HHP, comments:

“From start to finish, everyone from Procter Machine Guarding was very professional, they demonstrated excellent communications and the quote was very competitive.  Our site visit to Procter’s in Bedwas, Caerphilly, was also impressive, and it enabled us to see that the quality of the build and assembly was excellent.  Overall we were very impressed, which led us to pace the contract with Procter’s.”  

 “With the project complete, I can confirm that the quality of the work and the service provided was first class, and the work was completed on time – with the installation team working nights when required, allowing other teams to work on the machine during the day.  They were also flexible to our changing requirements and it was a genuine pleasure to work with them.”

“In summary, Procter Machine Guarding helped to ensure that the machine benefited from the highest standards of safety but at a competitive price.  The finished product was impressive, the service was excellent and the pricing was very keen.  Highly recommended.”

Procter Machine Guarding is the UK’s leading machine guarding specialist.  Versatile and able to work in virtually any environment, the company has a wealth of experience with companies in the UK and mainland Europe, designing, manufacturing and installing guarding for both newly refurbished machinery.  While the Cummins project was unusual in some respects, it is typical in as much as Procter Machine Guarding can take on work that other guarding companies might shy away from.

To discuss any requirements for new refurbished guarding, please email [email protected] or telephone us.