Machine guarding in the food industry is essential to avoid accidents and injuries to workers and equipment. But developing a proven guarding solution from scratch can be a challenging and time-consuming task when it is not your core competence. Read the four most important things to consider when looking for a new machine guarding.
What type of machine guarding is needed?
Machine guarding can be adapted to different machines and equipment in the food industry. Food companies use a variety of equipment in their production processes and it is necessary to choose a safety guard that can be adapted to these different machines without compromising hygiene and safety.
NTF-Aalborg produces two series of machine guarding; perimeter protection and mounted machine guarding.
- Comp-Line is a complete system of machine guarding which fences off parts or entire production lines to create a visible physical barrier and prevent access to high-risk areas or processes.
- In-Line is machine guarding, which is customized and mounted directly on the machine or around a conveyor belt to shield a specific area.
How do you ensure hygiene?
One of the biggest challenges in producing safety shielding for the food industry is ensuring that it is hygienic. The food industry has high hygiene requirements and any lack of hygiene and contamination can lead to serious consequences for both consumers and producers. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that the materials used for safety shielding are easy to clean and cannot collect bacteria.
At NTF-Aalborg we work exclusively in stainless steel AISI 304 or acid-proof AISI 316 because it is easy to clean and withstands disinfection. Stainless steel is a non-porous material, and therefore it is less likely to collect bacteria and other microorganisms than, for example, plastic. Our screens are also made of round steel with no horizontal surfaces to collect dirt and debris.
How much shielding is necessary?
Another challenge is to ensure that the machine guarding does not hinder necessary work processes, while at the same time ensuring that the guarding blocks dangerous situations. For example, in terms of legal distances for finger, hand and arm protection. Safety guards must protect against hazards, but they must not prevent workers from carrying out their tasks. It is therefore important to find a safety guard that provides sufficient protection but still allows workers access to the machinery and equipment they need to work with.
NTF machine guards consist of wire mesh mounted on posts or round steel frames. Installed at the correct distance from the machine, the mesh blocks body parts, but without preventing visual inspection and cleaning of machine parts.
Which conditions should the machine guarding be able to withstand?
A third challenge is that the guard must be able to withstand the extreme conditions in the food industry. The environment in the food industry can be both wet and hot, which can expose the safety guard to corrosion and wear. At the same time, there are high forces at play, for example in packing cells or other heavy lifting performed by machines. It is therefore necessary to use materials that can withstand these conditions and still maintain their strength.
Stainless steel is a very robust material that can resist corrosion and scratches that can easily occur in the demanding conditions found in a production line. It is also chemically resistant to acids and bases commonly used in food production.
Comp-Line machine guarding from NTF is a well-documented solution that has been tested to withstand a force of up to 2400 Joules. This is your assurance that both people and machines are protected in the best possible way in the event of an accident.
Producing safety guards for the food industry can be a challenging and time-consuming task when it is not your core competence, but it is necessary to ensure safety and quality in food production. It requires careful planning, collaboration, testing and evaluation to develop a safety guard that meets the stringent requirements of this industry. We recommend that you save your time and let NTF-Aalborg deliver your next machine guarding.
Contact us today for expert advice and a non-binding quote on firstname.lastname@example.org or +45 9837 3766.