HMK, which describes itself as the largest independent supplier of drive automation products in the UK, has formed HMK Safety Engineering as a separate business devoted to safety in the manufacturing and machinery sector. This move is largely in response to the welter of safety legislation that has been passed by the European Commission in the last few years.
Carl Krajewski, CEO of Entologi, the Group that owns HMK, explains: "We want to keep British industry productive and competitive whilst remaining compliant with the regulations. Very few machine manufacturers and production engineers have the expertise to keep pace with legislation change, follow all the procedures, testing and audits, manage the requisite documentation and optimise production rates. We have that expertise so we are forming a specialist, HMK safety company."
The new company, which will be known as HMK Safety Engineering, will be headed by Rob Sharrock, a well known figure in automation safety. Sharrock and his burgeoning team are busy formulating a range of service and consultancy packages for customers ranging from SMEs up to large multinationals. Their aim is to work alongside their customers, whether on the design of a new machine or production line; on assessing and maintaining the safety documentation for an existing operation or one undergoing modification. The HMK Safety team will manage the entire safety life cycle, including giving advice on the safety required for decommissioning.
Sharrock comments: "When Carl approached me with this idea, I thought it was a golden opportunity. Naturally, HMK's customer base is a starting point for us but, because we are a separate business operating out of the Entologi Group HQ in Irlam, I hope that in time we will become a trusted resource for wider industry. I genuinely believe that, providing you consider safety early enough, it need not push up the costs of production. Integrating control of safety systems into the standard automation platform allows greater flexibility in the control and management of hazards. For example, it may be better to run a machine at a safe slow speed to carry out a particular hazardous task rather than have to repeatedly stop the production line."
HMK Safety will work with its customers to develop an integrated platform of safety so that production is safe not only when operational, but during cleaning and maintenance too. Even with older machines, it is possible to retrofit shared diagnostics and a safety circuit that will provide security throughout the machine's life. Sharrock states: "The calculations required by the EU Directives and their subsequent Standards are quite involved, but we can help in the construction and maintenance of technical files, even through the upheaval of modification, giving peace of mind.
"We will act as a fresh pair of eyes, combating complacency with due diligence throughout the whole of a machine or line's life. HMK Safety is extraordinarily well placed to provide engineered solutions because we can draw on 30 years' Group experience within the automation industry and work with leading suppliers, such as Siemens."
Contact HMK Safety Engineering for more information about safety services for manufacturing and machinery.