April 17, 2018

Why Automation Can Boost Your Safety Commitment

by Joe Erb

When it comes to automated equipment for fenestration manufacturing, many discussions revolve around the business benefits. Hitting higher volumes with less labor, heightened quality consistency, and more.

But automation on the plant floor also benefits your people, helping everyone work not just smarter and more efficiently, but more safely. And safety should always bet at the top of your priorities list.
With that in mind, it’s worth highlighting a few of the ways automation can boost your commitment to safety. It’s one of many reasons to consider making the capital investment.

Repurposing/Eliminating physical labor. Especially when it comes to commercial glazing, consider the scope of the work being done on the factory floor. Moving large glass panels across your floor is essential, but it can be physically taxing.

Semi-automated and automated technology can help eliminate some of this heavy lifting, and it can be especially beneficial during busy season. Automated equipment is insensitive to temperature peaks, for instance, and doesn’t get fatigued if orders are up. Eliminating this need for physical manpower can additionally help your people focus on important less physical tasks that robotic equipment can’t accomplish as well.

Eliminating injury risk. Automated solutions for glass processes like cutting, breakout and edge deletion can help you eliminate potential sources of injury. Done manually, many of those critical processes involve workers coming into direct contact with sharp edges, posing both a safety risk for your employees and a quality risk for your finished product.

With automation, a good number of physical touchpoints can be eliminated. There is a lot of talk about how automation can help boost quality in this regard, but just as beneficial are safety impacts these processes can have on the floor.

Training, training, training. Of course, these benefits can only be realized when all your workers are armed with the right training to properly use the new equipment. Improper use of shop floor machinery, no matter what it is, poses a significant safety risk.

Make sure that routine maintenance is a part of your training considerations when it comes to any new equipment, too. Malfunctioning or underperforming equipment can lead to increased frustration and stress, posing even greater risks for both injury and subpar products going out the door.

Overall, automated equipment and the role it can play in transforming your plant floor still entirely depends the right people and the right training to make the most of it.

Questions or comments? Contact me directly at Joe.Erb@Quanex.com.

For more information about Quanex visit www.quanex.com
Posted: April 17, 2018 by Joe Erb Filed under: automation, Plant, safety, transformation