A Changing of the Guards! ATC Automation Incorporates Ease into its Safety

Case Studies -- case-studies.jpgThe use of guarding is an obvious requirement when using automated equipment. However, the guarding can sometimes cause challenges during change overs, maintenance, and sought after floor space.

ATC Automation recently was faced with designing a machine that helped to alleviate these types of problems. The project involved a very compact and condensed manufacturing system. Parts are fed from outside the machine making access a priority. A relatively new guarding concept was used that replaces the conventional type of panel guarding. Normally, one would use an enclosure that is made from Lexan or metal mesh with entry points accessible through doors that must swing out. The alternative to gain entry into the interior of the system is to remove portions of the enclosure.

To overcome these obstacles, ATC used four large panels that moved in a vertical orientation. Each panel makes up one side of the automated system. The guards use a series of counter weights to achieve optimum ergonomics when lifting. The new concept produced a system that allows four complete sides of the system's guarding to be easily lifted individually to allow complete access to the system's interior. Once raised, set-up or maintenance personnel have complete and free access to perform tooling change overs or preventative maintenance. This all is accomplished without using doors that must swing outward taking up expensive floor space. "As a bonus, the panels aid in the aesthetics of the machine. It gives it a very modern look", said Bob Rice, ATC's Applications Team Leader.

To see more about ATC Automation's innovative ideas, visit us on-line at www.automationtool.com or call us at 931-528-5417 to discuss how we can provide you with an automated assembly or test solution.