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Stamping

Upgrading press safety

By FFJournal staff

A ready-to-install safety unit provides a certified and reliable control solution

With changes by the Canadian Standards Association for the operation of stamping presses in Canada, stamping companies have to upgrade and recertify their operating equipment to a new safety standard: CSA Z142-02.

This means that companies must come up with a fast, inexpensive and easy solution to meet this regulation.

Press upgrading
Because of tthe certification, an automotive stamper in Ontario, Canada, had to upgrade 43 presses. One of the company's automation engineers had the task of bringing the presses into CSA compliance. He searched for a simple solution that could be implemented quickly and economically.

He tested the Simotion safety unit from Siemens, Elk Grove Village, Ill. This unit is a compact press safety controller that meets U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Act regulations for presses and punching machines for all industries along with CSA Z142-02. It integrates all safety functions demanded by the codes and meets EN category 4 and IEC Sil 3 standards worldwide, notes Siemens.

According to Siemens, the unit provides a fast, simple and cost-effective way to upgrade equipment. A company has to install it and set the appropriate press-operating parameters, and the retrofit is complete.

"My colleagues and I were impressed by the ease of integration and performance of the Simotion Safety Unit," said the Ontario-based stamper's automation engineer. With a fast and problem-free installation of one press, the company decided to use the unit for all of its presses.

How it works
Siemens' Simotion safety unit controls the press clutch and brake combination and monitors the service brake function by measuring the braking time using an integrated monitor. Additional safety valves also can be monitored. It evalutes cam signals (with breakage monitoring for shafts and belts) and monitors the press speed to complement its base functions. It also can detect faults at switches, transducers or sensors even before an incorrect stroke happens, which is an important prerequisite for the required single-fault tolerance, says Siemens.

Two-hand, anti-tie-down operation is available in manual mode, even if a press uses multiple operator stations. Safety gate interlocks, electric-stops, light curtains and safety plugs can be connected to it directly and activated in both manual and automatic mode.

Stand-alone or integrated solution
The unit contains all the control functions required to operate a press manually. In addition to the I/O interface, a serial communication interface is also available, which allows it to connect easily to a PLC-controlled press automation system. This simplifies the press control programming, as all safety functions are implemented by it.

With safety as a primary concern, press control functions are executed in both the press hardware and software. Fully operational function blocks also provide redundancy in the unit, which has two processor systems that monitor each other. Input and output wiring is done with a user-friendly configuration tool. Available default values to program the press make the input of the few required parameters fast and easy, and plausibility checks prevent configuration errors.

Once the configuration is complete, the information is transferred to the unit using a PC interface. After the data is loaded, the CPU settings are analyzed and compared with the set points fixed during the configuration to detect any transmission errors and to prevent press operation using inconsistent parameter settings.

Unified Engineering, a systems integrator based in Hamilton, Ontario, has installed a large number of Simotion safety units on mechanical presses. George Webster, the senior engineer and project manager, said it "normally pays for itself immediately, thanks to the simplified engineering, installation, commissioning and acceptance. Due to the operational reliability and high availability of the machine, the high-quality, low-cost Siemens product is a sound decision for the long term." FFJ

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