The MACtac-Bemis Group of companies headquartered in the Belgian town of Soignies (Hainaut province) manufactures adhesive films for decorative and advertising purposes as well as a broad spectrum of high-tech industrial products and is known worldwide for its label carriers and adhesive films. Safety constitutes an essential element of the entire operation. Therefore, MACtac was looking for a comprehensive solution capable of preventing the “classic” accidents in production.
SICK managed to convince the company with safety laser scanners and safety controllers. Based on prevention, MACtac-Bemis’ safety policy is implemented at locations worldwide. For Patrick Parisi, Division Safety Manager, safety questions are not only something followed with great attention; they are also at the very top of the agenda at meetings throughout.
The manufacturing process requires space and custom-designed machines with rotatable elements. The work carried out manually is largely connected to transporting as well loading and unloading the machines. Beyond that, sometimes remedying problems requires support by a technician or operator. Risk analysis showed that “classic” accidents occur most frequently: collisions with automated guided vehicles, sprains, contusions, and other more or less serious injuries. Traditional safety strategies reduce the risk, for instance, by using a second manual controller as well as safety detectors or barriers. MACtac-Bemis was already employing such traditional safety devices. However, the company wished to go even further, searching for a solution to prevent virtually all accidents. This is possible only by eliminating all undesired points of contact.
Modern safety zones
By using SICK’s S3000 safety laser scanners, the engineers from MACtac-Bemis were able to set up a modern safety zone around all hazardous areas. The S3000 mounted to a machine covers the entire hazardous area. With the help of the integrated software, one can establish warning and protective fields that are flexibly switchable. This approach provides numerous options: It is possible, for instance, to designate a free passageway between two machines located side by side. A person entering the warning field triggers an acoustic signal or causes a lamp to flash. Only crossing the perimeters of the protective field stops the machine.
Application example 1: S3000
When it comes to automated guided vehicles (AGVs), too, safety laser scanners prove their capabilities. As a vehicle approaches, the person within the hazardous zone is recognized by detecting the leg. In case of a person within the warning field, the AGV reduces speed, stopping only if a human is detected within the protective field.
Application example 2: S3000
The Flexi Soft safety controller combines all safety components, such as laser scanners, photoelectric switches, and emergency stop pushbuttons. This arrangement guarantees smooth production processes without any major downtimes.
Patrick Parisi confirms that MACtac-Bemis in Soignies has already advanced very far in terms of safety matters. The local safety precautions serve as a model for other locations. “We have to complete a few final tasks,” says Parisi. “The employees are doing a very effective job. Additionally, we will soon protect the areas behind the machines using laser sensors. We will ensure that this danger is eliminated for good.” Innovations are an important element of a comprehensive safety policy.