Managing the risks associated with the use of machinery and equipment in manufacturing forms part of critical legislation in Australia, New Zealand and around the world. Today, eliminating and reducing risk in terms of manufacturing safety is of utmost importance, with ISO13849-1 setting the standard.
Through the millions of life cycles that SMC’s products travel, protecting people and production by delivering on quality safety solutions is on the top of SMC’s priority list. From individually constructed machines to highly complex systems, SMC looks to flexibility and productivity coupled with trouble-free user and operating safety.
James Graham, SMC Australia|New Zealand Manager of Mechatronics and Control Systems explains that safety is its own unique language which requires extra care and expertise. “In the event of an emergency, most if not all applications will require for the release of all stored energy including compressed air. This must be released in the safest way possible and safety solutions must be considered to minimize risks,” he said
“Much like in everyday life, safety helps to establish trust. More and more, the industry demands safety and industry experts need to be able to walk you through the entire process – holistic safety engineering begins as early as the design phase.”
Safety forms part of the bigger picture in sustaining not only components but machines too. With advanced R&D at the forefront, SMC offers products and technical expertise throughout from supporting customers during risk assessment to helping find the appropriate safety product in relation to current safety regulations and providing all the necessary parameters.
To meet ISO13849-1 standards, SMC introduced its range of VP544/744-X555/585, Dual Residual Pressure Release Valves with Soft Start-up Function, designed to join its existing range.
“Adhering to international machine safety standards is a must for manufacturers and designers following the introduction of this ISO standard. The standard sets out safety requirements and guidance on the principles for the design and integration of safety-related parts of control systems, including the design of software,” explained Graham.
“The design of these valves features an integrated soft-start up function that gradually builds the pressure of the pneumatic system, delivering performance consistency and excellent safety.”
Boasting a reliable construction, the valves have two stations, so if one fails to operate, residual pressure is released by the remaining valve to maintain the safety function. Further features include a selectable throttle and fixed orifice that allows the pressure to be easily adjusted. In addition, they come with IP65 enclosure protection, a safety limit switches to ensure that the main valve position is automatically checked and the ability to connect to modular type FRL units, offering superb flexibility and versatility and allowing the valves to be used across a broad range of applications.
Safety valves are also integrated with the free SISTEMA software tool which helps to reduce risk by feeding information through rapidly so that operators can react quickly.
“The beauty of these valves is that while risk is reduced, high flow rates are still achieved. It’s great for high-risk application such as in automatic machines, pick and place and progressive start-ups such as those found in most industrial operations,” said Graham.