Safety Tips for Retrofitting Woodworking Machinery
December 20, 2011 | 9:45 am CST

CANTON, MI -- To ensure that plant and machinery are always state of the art, retrofits have become increasingly established in the woodworking industry.

Safety defects that generally arise after many years of use, such as the lack of adequate safeguards, lead to a loss of machine safety. There are several immediate benefits a retrofit can bring: in addition to the updated safety technology, significant investment costs can be saved, because a new investment would cost considerably more. A retrofit will also increase the machine's availability, as it will again be running smoothly and efficiently. Pilz provides support in this area with tailor-made retrofit solutions.

For example, double-end tenoners – machines that process two sides of the work piece simultaneously. To increase their precision and availability, the first step is to determine whether the retrofit and increased availability need to be regarded as a significant change.

The width adjustment of these machines is critical: the implementation has to ensure that work piece transportation is safely guaranteed at all times, but that no hazards can arise for operating personnel as the adjustments are made.

The solution can be to use a safety light barrier, PSENopt, or the PSENslock / PSENsgate safety gate systems, both from Pilz. PSENopt provides protection where operator intervention is required as part of each cycle, such as insertion work, or the infeed and outfeed of material. PSENslock / PSENsgate, on the other hand, are integrated safety gate systems and cover functions such as safe monitoring, safe guard locking and control elements, including additional functions such as E-STOP and escape release, all in one unit. All components – whether mechanical or electronic - are integrated within one safety gate system.

Following the retrofit, operators now have the option in "Setup" mode to monitor the width adjustment process in the danger zone, via enable mode. Also, all the individual processing cabins are now secured in such a way that manual setup in "Setup" mode is possible at any time without risk. This gives the operator or tool setter the flexibility he or she needs for the task. "Set up" mode thus incorporates additional measures such as "Enable mode" and "Safely reduced speed."

Source: Pilz Automation Safety

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