While machine safety and quality control are two key elements of any factory automation process, never put quality over the safety of your workers.
How To Simultaneously Increase Machine Safety And Quality Control
The truth is, it’s easier to focus on safety without compromising quality control if you implement a controls scheme that includes machine safety and quality control technologies. Here’s how:
Get Monitoring Devices With Built-In Communication Protocols
Consider an HMI (human-machine interface), or PLC (programmable logic controller) with built-in communication protocols that allow you to meet your machine safety and quality control requirements. Oftentimes, these control and monitoring devices are considered separately. Pay attention to the way the controls, monitoring devices and hardware all work together, not only from a process vantage but from a machine safety and quality control view as well. Essentially, you want everything “talking together.” Monitoring devices that command mechanical devices can enhance machine safety with good quality control.
By installing an HMI or PLC that communicates with your mechanical hardware, you have more control with feedback for your entire solution. When you use a system-wide approach, combining mechanical hardware – such as actuators and part movers – and HMIs or PLCs with communication protocols, the results are a stable, reliable system balancing machine safety and quality control requirements.
Improve Your Manufacturing Process Visibility
If you can improve the visibility of your manufacturing process, you are capable of improving your ability to safely control the quality. For example, provide properly sized and monitored access to areas of your process that allow an operator to safely address quality issues as they occur. Make sure the safety guarding is appropriate so that the operator can actually do something about the issue.
Safety for the measurement or control system and safety for the user or operator is equally important. Choose products and devices that provide a high degree of safety and reliability. For instance, choose digital input/output (I/O) devices that include fail-safe mechanisms that monitor process conditions.
Schedule Routine Machine Safety And Quality Control Audits
To establish a baseline and track the progress of your manufacturing process, it’s highly recommended that you schedule routine machine safety and quality control audits.
Look for a partner who can recommend safety and quality control procedures Ideally, the right partner is a company that not only sells the products and components you need but also understands how to operate them safely and effectively.
Implement Advanced Technology for Minimal Downtime and Quality Assurance
Some of the latest advancements in valve manifold designs include an auto-recovery module. During a critical failure, this module will store and protect all of the original configuration parameters and inputs. When a new I/O module is added, it is recognized and all the settings, configurations and other important information is loaded into it. In addition, safety isn’t compromised because the auto-recovery sequence meets safety standards and procedures. Without the need for specialized training, an operator can safely and quickly resume equipment operation.
Ensuring machine safety and optimum quality control is a basic requirement in factory automation. Choose a partner that not only integrates safety and quality control into their complete automation solutions but also assists you in complying with current laws and regulations.