Photo courtesy Probat-Werke
Probat switch cabinet with safety programmable logic controllers
Technology aids in more ways than roasting a better bean. For manufacturers such as Probat-Werke, new programs and components play a role in creating a safer product and work environment.
“The safety of operators, service personnel, and the equipment has always been a high priority for Probat,” said Thomas Koziorowski, Probat’s director of product technology and research & development. “We have been doing risk assessments for our products and design safety features to avoid these risks. Increasing safety requirements and growing demands on flexibility of machines force us to assess the safety of our products from different perspectives,” he said.
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The risk assessment process is increasingly more structured and standardized to guarantee consistent quality and guard against new potential risks, Koziorowski said. Technological upgrades in sensors, actuators, thermal elements, or the safety programmable logic controllers (PLCs) assist in getting the job done right.
European Union machinery safety requirements vary depending on the overall risk potential. Electrical, electronic, and programmable electronic safety features are used to address those risks. Koziorowski points out that technology alone cannot create a completely safe work environment but tools such as safety PLCs, which ensures a sufficient purging of even the most complex roasting systems, play a role.
“The safety PLC allows us to realize more complex and sophisticated safety features than ever before,” he said. “Whenever a safety PLC is economically sensible we focus on realizing as many safety features as possible through this component.”
Just as important is embracing a safety-first philosophy and passing that awareness on to customers and operators.
“It is not a specific technology or any features in particular which have improved our products and their safety features, but rather the way we incorporated safety awareness and the required processes into our organization. Safety is now part of our company DNA,” Koziorowski said. “For us the dual control principle applies and all installations have to undergo safety checks. Without having been subjected to comprehensive safety checks, no roaster gets handed over to the customer.”
“We always strive for the safest machines and most recent safety technology,” he said. “If we narrow it down to technologies, it definitely is the safety PLC which has brought us and our products, especially roasters, forward. Complex logics and analyses can be done, which weren’t possible before. This technological basis has a great potential for further application developments.”
- Dan Shryock