Mechanical Punch and Shearing Machines: Safe Use and Maintenance

December 13, 2018

Modern machines use industrial-strength moving parts. Happily, that’s a development that has produced incredibly fast and productive equipment lines. Not so happily, those machines have been known to cause nasty injuries. Mechanical punch and shearing machines are not immune to such incidents. Equipped with powerful hydraulic pistons and heavy moving parts, they embody a very real danger. Protecting workers, even those that are reckless, the following safety measures need enforcing.

Equipment Safety Measures

Hinged guards are fitted to punching machines. They stop a carelessly roving arm from getting close to a spinning flywheel or hydraulic piston. There are solid, opaque guards installed on shearing machines, too. If a tool’s actions are obstructed, a translucent, spring-loaded machine guard is probably employed in place of the opaque variant. Essentially, those spring-loaded and rolling guards prevent careless fingers from getting anywhere near those powerfully muscled moving parts. However, isn’t it easy to just forget to replace a guard? Just from time-to-time, people forget.

Incorporating Powered Safety Features

Microswitches, that’s the secret to safety mechanism securing. If a shearing machine operator pulls a spring-loaded guard away from the cutting zone so that he can check the job for good shearing action, then the machine won’t work until the guard is replaced. Microswitches should be fitted to each body protecting safety system. Then, within reach of the machine operator’s hand, a red-hued emergency stop provides backup safety. If anything goes wrong, anything at all, a swift slap of the big red button brings everything to a stop. And there’s more. Continuous operation safety controls are used to assure worker protection. They come in the form of pedal switches. Foot down, the pedal powers the equipment. If the worker’s foot is pulled away from the pedal, the machine stops.

Maintaining the Safety Measures

Clearly operator-essential, those microswitches and pedals require maintenance. If they were to fail, we don’t want a raised guard to uselessly dangle while the shearing assembly does its work. Exposed like this, the gear could catch a loose item of clothing and pull an arm in close. Maintenance teams, using their scheduling logbooks, rove machine shop floors. They inspect the guards, check switch continuity, test spring-loaded mechanisms, and diligently carry out safety system checks.

The job of a safety officer is to coordinate the maintenance team and arrange a preventative check system that continuously assesses all safety measures. This competent individual is also responsible for other, less mechanically-oriented duties. Taking the machine worker aside, there are safety videos and training courses to run through. They include nasty accident scenarios, emergency stop awareness training, and health and safety guideline instructions.

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