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Mafic SA was formed in 2012 for the production of advanced materials for the composite industry. Mafic has manufacturing facilities in North America and Europe producing continuous and chopped basalt fiber as well as long fiber thermoplastic (LFT) resins
To create market leading, unique composite materials Mafic have developed material processing techniques requiring specialised and unusual machinery in their Kells manufacturing facility. Due to the highly specialised application the majority of this machinery has to be brought in from outside the EU. Mafic tasked Project Engineering with assessing this machinery to ensure compliance with relative EU Directives as well as Irish Workplace Health & Safety Regulations.
As part of this assessment the need for additional machine guarding was identified. Project Engineering’s first step was to go on site and meet Mafic’s management and operating staff to discuss individual machines operating and maintenance procedures (Tasks to be carried out, frequency of access etc.) with the aim to design guarding that will be both practical and functional for operators.
Detailed measurements and surveys were carried out on each machine, once back in the office the Project Engineering team set to work on planning proposals for bespoke guarding arrangements. For Mafic’s machinery, and furthermore for any machine to fully comply with the Machinery Directive hazards arising from moving parts must be safe guarded against by the following means;
- Fixed Guarding – Fixed guards fully restrict access and cannot be removed without the use of tools such as bolt on panels etc.
- Movable interlocked guarding – Movable Interlocked guards are guards which can open/close for access however the interlock will cut power to the moving parts to prevent injury to the operator.
- Protective Devices – Protective Devices do not provide a physical barrier to the hazard instead they provide protection by stopping the machinery when they are activated, examples include light guards and pressure mats.
Due to Mafic’s requirements for access to machinery for normal operations and maintenance movable interlocked guarding was deemed most appropriate. Next the types of material and construction for the movable interlocked guarding were considered, several options were available such as;
- Mesh Guarding
- Sheet Steel Guarding
- Polycarbonate (Clear) Guarding
As it was desirable for operators to have a clear view of the machinery enclosed by the guarding and there was a risk of dust/particles being ejected during operation, Clear Polycarbonate Guarding was selected.
After submitting Machine Guarding proposals to Mafic, Project Engineering were able to meet again with Mafic management and staff to discuss each available option and assist Mafic in making a decision based on their specific requirements.
Once a proposal was approved Project Engineering immediately set to work to produce a detailed 3D prototype of Mafic’s machinery and the proposed Custom Machine Guarding. Creating a 3D prototype of the guarding allowed Mafic to fully understand the finished product and make any changes that may not have been previously anticipated before the guarding was manufactured (saving time and money).
Once the design had been finalised Mafic’s Bespoke Machine Guarding was manufactured. On an agreed date Project Engineering delivered and installed the Machine Guarding on site, providing Mafic with assurance that their machines are now much safer for operating staff.
If you have machinery that requires machine guarding or are considering whether or not to install such guarding feel free to contact us for advice and/or quotations.