Machinery Safety 101

Force and injury — How hard is too hard? ISO/TR 21260 will help

ISO/TS 15066 body model
This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Hier­archy of Con­trols

Force rep­res­ents the mech­an­ic­al energy that causes injury to the human body. ISO/TC 199 has been work­ing on answer­ing that ques­tion since 2012.

Read More

Instructions for Use – the New ISO 20607

Instruc­tions are one of the basic items that users expect to get when they pur­chase a product, and yet these import­ant doc­u­ments are often poorly writ­ten, badly trans­lated, and incom­plete. Key…

Read More

Can Emergency Stop be used as an “on/off” control?

Emergency Stop Button
This entry is part 16 of 16 in the series Emer­gency Stop

Every couple of months I get an email ask­ing me if there is any reas­on why e‑stop func­tions can­’t be used as the primary power con­trol (on/off but­ton) for machinery. Fol­low­ing…

Read More

Introduction to Functional Safety Seminars

Man training a group of people, pointing to Functional Safety topics on the whiteboard

If you are inter­ested in func­tion­al safety, and I know many read­ers are based on the stat­ist­ics I see for my oth­er func­tion­al safety-related posts, I think you will be inter­ested in this.…

Read More

Do-It-Yourself Safety Labels, Signs and Tags

Safety label on a roller conveyor
This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Hier­archy of Con­trols

One of the great chal­lenges that all product design­ers face is the sourcing of appro­pri­ate product safety labels. There are many sources for off-the-shelf labels includ­ing some of the biggest…

Read More

Emergency Stop Pull-Cords

This entry is part 15 of 16 in the series Emer­gency Stop

This art­icle was updated 2020-06-13, adding links to the Rock­well Auto­ma­tion and Schmersal pull-cord data, and on 2019-04-26, adding spe­cif­ic details related to IEC 60947 – 5‑5 [7]. When it comes to…

Read More

Trapped Key Interlocking

This is a trapped key interlock on the door of an electrical switchgear cabinet. To open the door the key must be inserted and turned to withdraw a bolt that holds the door closed. With the bolt withdrawn, the key is held in the lock. The upstream switching device is held open by another interlock using the same key; since the key can only be in one of the two locks, it prevents accidentally closing the upstream switch while the cabinet is open for maintenance. The interlock is attached to the door with one-way screws to discourage casual removal of the lock, which would defeat the system.
This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Guards and Guard­ing

Many machine design­ers think of inter­locks as exclus­ively elec­tric­al devices; a switch is attached to a mov­able mech­an­ic­al guard, and the switch is con­nec­ted to the con­trol sys­tem. Trapped Key Inter­lock­ing is…

Read More

How to Apply a Safety Edge to a Machine Guard – Part 3: Stopping Performance

CNC machine with sliding doors and safety edges
This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series Guards and Guard­ing

In Part 2 of this art­icle, I looked at the pres­sure-sens­it­ive devices (safety edges) them­selves. This part explores the stop­ping per­form­ance require­ments that engin­eers and tech­no­lo­gists need to con­sider when apply­ing these…

How to Apply a Safety Edge to a Machine Guard – Part 2: Design Considerations

CNC machine with sliding doors and safety edges
This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series Guards and Guard­ing

In Part 1 of this art­icle, I looked at the pres­sure-sens­it­ive devices (safety edges) them­selves. This part explores the design require­ments that engin­eers and tech­no­lo­gists need to con­sider when apply­ing these devices.…

How to Apply a Safety Edge to a Machine Guard – Part 1: Pressure-sensitive devices

CNC machine with sliding doors and safety edges
This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series Guards and Guard­ing

Safety Edges are often for­got­ten as safe­guard­ing devices. Most machinery engin­eers and design­ers are famil­i­ar with inter­lock­ing devices and light cur­tains, but once we step away from the famil­i­ar, our…

Read More