In response to the soaring demand for hygienic products for use in the fight against covid-19, the world’s most innovative wet wipes manufacturer Nice-Pak turned to Euchner, a leading international specialist in safety engineering, to deliver a safety system upgrade in a strict timeframe for a converting machine that was being overhauled at its production plant in Flint, North Wales.
As a result of increased production demands, machine utilisation and uptime are a critical KPI at Nice-Pak. Consequently, the engineering teams were given a very short installation window to undertake a significant machinery refurbishment with the overall objective of producing a more reliable and intuitive machine.
Generally, machines used to produce wet wipes are high speed and it was determined a high integrity safety related control system was required. This outcome had a significant impact on the use of series wiring of the machine’s safety devices.
Euchner worked closely with Nice-Pak to design and manufacture a bespoke Industry 4.0 ready solution based on the company’s novel CTM interlocking switches and their associated IO-Link interface. Nice-Pak’s risk assessments determined that the safety equipment needed to meet the requirements of Performance Level PLd/PLe, according to EN-ISO-13849, as well as high levels of diagnostic coverage coupled with reliability.
The CTM’s internal monitoring allowed Nice-Pak to connect multiple switches in series and still achieve high levels of safety-integrity up to Category 4/PLe. This series connection significantly reduced the amount of field wiring that was required on the machine and in addition to the safety signals, the simple wiring architecture also carried inclusive diagnostic data.
Most conventional safety systems require extensive additional cabling to get basic diagnostic data, however, with the Euchner solution a single core within the interconnection cable carries all of the comprehensive information for all of the switches in the group. The safety chain was monitored via the integration of Euchner’s ESM-CB unit which was used to transmit the status of the individual switches to the higher-level Rockwell Automation control system via IO-Link.
Through the use of the diagnostic information, Nice-Pak can identify potential faults on the machine including switch misalignment caused by wear and tear or potential manipulation and proactively correct any issues prior to experiencing unexpected machine downtime. In addition, Nice-Pak engineering have replicated this information on the machine’s HMI to present the operating team with real time information to allow them to make informed decisions.
It was essential that any potential solution could be installed and commissioned swiftly. Due to the innovative features of the CTM switch and the benefit of Euchner undertaking the pre-assembly of the interconnects, Nice-Pak carried out the installation in less than half the time that it would have taken using a conventional solution. Not only did this save money during the installation, but it also allowed the machine to get back into production earlier than planned.
Gareth Roberts, Nice-Pak’s Group EC&I Engineer, explained: “A major benefit of the Euchner solution is the ability to retain the diagnostic coverage, hence the performance level, while utilising multiple connected locking door switches wired in series, saving time and money. Euchner made some great recommendations, the products are high quality and working with their engineers has been very rewarding. The new safety solution was extremely quick to install and is performing exactly as expected without any issues.”
The CTM interlock from Euchner meets the demand from end-users and machine builders alike for an innovative, robust, compact locking device where high levels of personnel protection is required.
David Dearden, Euchner’s UK&I Country Manager, said: “Nice-Pak wasn’t looking for just a switch, but the whole solution, and all to be implemented around very tough deliverables to ensure Nice-Pak continues to retain its world class productivity achievements. I’m very proud of our sales and engineering teams for meeting what was a very strict deadline in delivering this bespoke safety solution.”
As well as offering a wide range of safety and access control solutions Euchner also offers a range of machinery safety consultancy and training services, designed to ensure that equipment meets the required standards, this includes machinery safety surveys, CE or UKCA Marking advice and PUWER assessments as well as bespoke application guidance.