Machine guarding for the Machine Building industry
As a guarding specialist, Procter Machine Safety is well placed to serve the needs of machine builders and system integrators, whether the machinery in question is a small standalone machine, sophisticated machine tool, complex assembly of linked machines, special-purpose machine for production or research, or anything else.
Our designers have the necessary breadth of experience, coupled with an in-depth working knowledge of machinery safety standards, to create cost-effective guarding that is safe, aesthetically pleasing and will not hinder operation or maintenance. We are equally at home supplying guards for new machines or existing machines that are being modernised, refurbished, upgraded or adapted.
Furthermore, our capability extends beyond the design, manufacture and installation of the physical guarding to include aspects of control systems relating to guarding – such as guard switches, emergency stop pushbuttons, safety light curtains, pressure-sensitive mats and so on. If required, we can design and implement the complete safety-related control system, including on-site wiring and commissioning.
Depending on the application, machine builders and system integrators might also require bespoke access platforms, staircases and fixed ladders.
All of our machine guards are designed, manufactured and finished in our factory in South Wales, giving us complete control over quality and deliveries. The guards comply with all relevant standards; in Europe this includes the following as a minimum:
- EN ISO 12100
- EN ISO 14120
- EN ISO 13857
During the design phase we will identify all relevant standards; in Europe this covers A-Type, B-Type and C-Type machinery safety harmonised standards, plus any appropriate standards that are not harmonised to the machinery directive.
We can additionally comply with in-house standards or codes of practice requested by the customer or end user.
When we supply bespoke access platforms, staircases and fixed ladders, they comply with the requirements specified in BS EN ISO 14122 (Safety of machinery – Permanent means of access to machinery).
Using our state-of-the-art CNC punch press, press brake, welding and finishing plant, we can manufacture and assemble any type of guards for machine builders – and we often trial-assemble machine guards prior to packaging and delivery. We can work with mild steel, welded wire mesh, aluminium, stainless steel, polycarbonate and other materials – for example, our acoustic enclosures incorporate specialist sound-dampening materials. Mild steel guards can be hot-dip galvanised and/or polyester powder coated for a high-quality finish and long-lasting protection against corrosion.
Note that our ISO 9001 Quality Management System covers the design, manufacture and installation of machine guards.
Why do machine builders need machine guards?
Machine builders in Europe have to comply with the requirements of the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC, and the easiest route to compliance is to apply the relevant harmonised standards, some of which relate to machine guarding. Markets elsewhere in the world have similar requirements for machines to be adequately guarded.
The question some machine builders ask is why they should outsource the machine guarding when they have the capability to design and manufacture it in-house? The main reasons for outsourcing the guarding to Procter Machine Safety can be summarised as follows:
- Save money – our specialists can design and manufacture the guarding more economically than machine builders can
- Save time – our design and manufacturing teams are set up specifically for producing machine guarding
- Standards compliance – our designers have a detailed working knowledge of the relevant standards
- Avoid over-engineering – our design teams have a wealth of relevant industry experience and an unbeatable knowledge of what the HSE would expect to see in terms of reducing risks to ‘as low as reasonably practicable’
- Better resource utilisation – in other words, let your designers focus on adding value through innovation, rather than being tied up with the guarding
Types of guarding
Machine builders create an incredibly wide variety of machinery, so the types of guarding they require will be similarly broad. Depending on your application and requirements, we will supply one or more types of machine guard:
- close-fitting machine guards in sheet steel
- close-fitting guards with welded wire mesh or polycarbonate infill panels
- modular aluminium guards with infill panels in sheet steel, composite, welded wire mesh, clear polycarbonate or, most likely, a combination of two or more of these
- fully-enclosed acoustic enclosures that also perform a machine guarding function
- modular perimeter guarding with steel or aluminium framing and a choice of infills as above
- any combination of the above, such as modular perimeter guards with close-fitting guards to prevent access to specific hazards
In addition, we offer interlocks, guard switches, key-exchange systems, safety light curtains, pressure-sensitive edges, pressure-sensitive mats and other safety devices.
Types of access platform
Only larger machinery will require access platforms, stairs or fixed ladders, but these are always custom-designed for each application. We can undertake a site survey or work from customer-supplied CAD files, then design, manufacture, finish and install the following:
- access platforms
- fixed ladders
- step ladders
- guard rails
Comprehensive service for machine builders
Our turnkey service covers all of the following, or you can just select the elements that you require:
- machine surveys
- site surveys
- risk assessments
- stakeholder consultations
- electrical integration of guard switches and other electrical items
- design of safety-related control systems
- modifications to existing safety-related control systems to accommodate new safety devices
- on-site installation at times to suit the machine builder, system integrator or end user – such as overnight, at weekends or during scheduled shutdowns
Our installation services is popular among machine builders for guarding, and all but essential for access platforms, stairs and fixed ladders. Benefits of our installation service include:
- highly experienced fitters
- large team of fitters enables installations to be completed very quickly
- our electricians connect electrical items in compliance with the necessary standards
- installation at times that avoid disruption
- your fitters can remain focused on the more technical aspects of the machine
If you are a machine builder or system integrator and are considering outsourcing machine guarding, access platforms, stairs or fixed ladders, contact us to discuss your requirements.