Polish CSO’s data for 2021: nearly half of the accidents in the auto manufacturing industry result in an inability to work for 21 days or longer
In addition, one of the 4 most common causes of accidents is contact with machinery: collision, being pulled in, or being crushed. Serious accidents and fatalities are also not uncommon. Examples from the yards of leading auto manufacturers are available here and here.
And how much does a production line shutdown cost at an automotive plant? For the automotive industry, it’s as much as 50,000 USD/min.
What’s more, accident victims can claim compensation for serious and fatal accidents. A case in which the family of a deceased electrician received £150,000 in compensation from Vauxhall Motors was loudly echoed.
Machines used in the automotive industry
The production process of automotive components is composed of many specialized stages. This forces the use of advanced equipment and workstations that allow for efficient and effective production in a constantly changing environment. Among the many types of machines that are used in the automotive industry, the most popular are:
- welding cells;
- robotic cells;
- large specialized production machines;
- injection molding machines, presses;
- CNC machines;
- foundry furnaces;
- large machines/processing workstations;
- large technological lines;
- conveyor belts, conveyors.
In the case of the above-mentioned machines and workstations, the most frequently used security systems include guards for machines and moving elements, physical barriers in the form of fences and walls, emergency switch systems, alarms (light and sound), scanners and light curtains, security interlocks (limit switches), or LOTO procedures.
How can Thermosafety secure machines in the automotive industry?
An example of securing a workstation with presses
The presses take part in the production process consisting in giving (with the use of a suitable mold) a shape to an element of the car interior. An example of an item where presses are used is a headliner. Presses pose a danger to the operators operating them, who sometimes have to reach with their hands into the machine. Its constant monitoring will allow for immediate signaling and suspending or preventing the resumption of the machine’s operation when a person appears in the danger zone. If the operator is outside the zone – Thermosafety will not stop the machine’s operation. In addition, the press itself will not trigger a stop which is the case with safety curtains/scanners.
Examples of use for other machines and workstations:
- welding cells and robotic cells – preventing activation when a person is locked inside the cell;
- large specialized production machines – preventing starting when a person is inside or in the danger zone;
- injection molding machines, presses, and CNC machines – preventing starting when a person is accidentally locked inside the mold or in the working area of the workstation;
- foundry furnaces – protection against work when there is a person nearby and against being hit by the opening door of the furnace or being hit by a trolley entering the furnace;
- large machines/processing stations – preventing operation when there is an operator in the danger zone;
- large technological lines – preventing the operation of machines when a person is present in the working area;
- conveyor belts, conveyors – protection if a person appears on the conveyor belt or is caught by its moving element.