In today’s industrial facility, it’s not uncommon to have multiple processes taking place in the same building, often on the same elevated work platform. These processes each have their own unique requirements for equipment and personnel, but one common denominator should be proper safety equipment to ensure a safe environment.
We worked with a chemical plant that needed to provide safety for its employees in a number of applications performed in its facility. To secure each unique area, our team did a walk through of the facility with the safety managers to view each area and provide the best solution for each application. After review, our engineers designed solutions for each area. Once fabricated, our installers were able to install the solutions and secure these areas.
The company’s facility had a few areas in which overhead hoists were loading super sacks to elevated areas so employees could mix the ingredients into the hoppers; a few featured pallet drop areas right next to the hopper. Tight quarters on elevated platforms coupled with processes that require repetitive lifting of heavy material in a dusty, hot environment can provide a recipe for unsafe situations for employees; risk of falling from unguarded ledges during loading and unloading operations is great without proper protection. Because each area had its own unique process and space limitations, specific fall protection solutions were designed for each area.
The fall protection solution we provided for the areas with the overhead hoists was our Open Top safety gate model, which uses an interconnected dual-gate system without any overhead mechanics that ensures one gate is always protecting the employees from the ledge at all times. This allowed the hoist to access the area from above while keeping the employee a safe distance from the ledge.
Some of these areas required side access to the material, so we designed the Open Top model in a ninety-degree configuration. A couple of these areas were wash-down environments so we supplied the safety gates in a stainless steel construction.
Other areas where loaded by a lift truck but had limited depth due to the location of the hoppers, so we provided our Tri-Side model safety gate, which uses a cantilevered rear-side gate that lifts up and out of the way to allow access around the pallet in tight environments while always keeping the ledge secured.
This facility also had an area in a doorway on the upper level. Because remote control to the gate was required, we provided our original dual-gate safety system, the Roly model, with power operation and a radio frequency remote for the lift truck.
Another area had limited height but was used for loading tall pallet loads. We supplied a custom designed version of our Pivot Model, adjusting the pivot point locations to fit the space constraints while accommodating the pallet sizes.
There were also two areas that were unique in every stage of the process, involving an overhead hoist, limited depth, limited height and required side access to the area. Because we did not have a standard design that could fit this environment, we designed one that did. This unnamed solution, designed specifically for this area, was able to secure the area then rotate up and out of the way to allow secure egress to the area.
So just like there are no two applications alike, there is not really one safety gate that is perfect for every application in an industrial facility. Reach out to discuss your specific application. You can also learn more about how to pick the right safety gate model here.
In today’s business environment, productivity is key to success. Regardless of the size of the business, productivity depends on employees, equipment and the operations workflow.
Operations and processes are changing too, but there is still a need for safety. AGVs, robots and other unmanned vehicles continue to be integrated into operations in material handling, we’ll see more need ensuring safety devices can communicate with these devices to keep productivity and efficiency intact.
Safety is a necessity in any operation - from manufacturing to material handling to distribution. Some safety managers may see safety devices as an impediment, worrying about adding in any additional equipment or processes to existing operations. However, we’d strongly argue that safety devices serve a need - keeping workers from falling or being injured on the job. In addition, safety doesn’t have to impede operations, and in fact, safety can help make processes more efficient.
Ideally, we like to design our line of dual-gate safety devices to be manually operated. Manual operation creates the highest level of safety because the worker on the platform is the only person controlling the opening and closing of the gate. This can be very important for any material handling or manufacturing application in which lift trucks or AGVs are involved. However in some instances, the manual operation of the gate may be slowed due to the nature of the application, which then slows operations and productivity.
If you are concerned that a safety device may impede operations or slow productivity, consider the following options to ensure your employees are protected and your productivity doesn’t slow down.
If an operation requires access to the safety gate remotely, we offer power-operation for any of our safety gate models, which can save time in operations in which lift trucks are depositing material to upper levels. Push button controls allow for employees on lower and upper levels to open and close the safety gates to load and unload material.
All of the power-operated systems we offer include built-in safety features like photo eyes that detect the presence of a person or object and prevent the gates from closing, along with a adjustable clutch that will engage if the gate were to make contact with an object.The motors have built-in safety features and numerous controls that can be used, like radio frequency remotes on the lift truck, and flashing lights and caution alarms.
Wireless Controls and Sensors:
Adding controls or sensors to the safety devices can also speed operations, especially in those that incorporate AGVs. Safety gates can be equipped with sensors to allow the AGV to determine if the ledge gate of the safety gate was open or closed. Photo eyes posted on the gate can also work with sensors to ensure the ledge-side gate is in place when it detects workers on the platform, providing safety for the workers on the upper levels.
Controls can also be integrated with the safety gate power operation so that when the ledge gate is up, sensors send information to an AGV, telling it that material can be loaded into the pallet drop area. Once the pallets are loaded into the work area, the sensors send a signal to close the ledge-side of the safety gate and the workers can then work with the material that was loaded into the area.
Software integration with safety gates can help track product and processes in a facility’s operations. For example, one customer wanted to tie in the operation of the safety gate with their processing computers so the system could track ingredients to each pallet drop area. By using power operation, the safety gate power station can be wired into a facility’s system so the computers can record when the safety gates were operated. The integration can track the cycles of the safety gate to determine what had been delivered, what had been processed and which area needed to be replenished. It can also track the time it takes to do each task.
Safety devices do not need to impede on a facility’s processes or workflow. Power operation, wireless controls and sensors and software integration can be added to our any of our safety gate models - regardless of the gate model, depth, width or height. Contact us if you’d like to learn more about how safety devices can truly integrate into your facility’s operations and processes.