In response to significantly higher demand for hygiene products used in the fight against covid-19, leading wet wipes manufacturer Nice-Pak turned to Euchner when it needed a safety system upgrade for a converting machine. And it had to be delivered in a strict timeframe.
As a result of increased production demands, both machine utilisation and uptime are critical KPI's at the Flintshire-based Nice-Pak wet wipe manufacturing facility. Consequently, the company’s engineering teams were given a very short installation window to implement 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 that in this case a high integrity safety related control system was required, an outcome which 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 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 achieving 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 the desired 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 has replicated this information on the machine’s HMI to present the operating team with real time information to allow them to make informed decisions.
Production demand determined it was essential that any potential solution could be installed and commissioned swiftly. Due to the special 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 much earlier than planned.
Gareth Roberts, Nice-Pak’s Group EC&I Engineer, explains: “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.”
Right for machine builders
Euchner says that its CTM interlock: “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 a complete solution to be implemented around very tough deliverables. I’m very proud of our team for meeting 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.