With its new ‘key-in-pocket’ solution, Pilz Automation, a leading supplier of automation products and systems, offers a system for maintenance safety and relies on the eSIGN LED signal tower from WERMA as a visual display.
Extensive machines and plants often have poorly visible or dangerous areas that are secured with protective zones or fences, which places special demands on safety – it is important that only authorised persons have access for maintenance work.
At the same time, it must be ensured that when setting up for new jobs or restarting the plant, no more people are in the hazardous area.
In order to protect employees, certain parts of a machine or production plant are protected by a cell (such a robot cell), and if a person needs access due to necessary maintenance, the machine must be stopped – only then is it possible to enter the cell. When entering, the person signs in with his personal transponder in a ‘safe list’.
As long as at least one person remains in the danger zone (or a person is entered in the safe list), the machine may not be restarted.
Pilz’s key-in-pocket solution ensures that only authorised persons are allowed access, only suitably qualified persons carry out the work involved and the number of people within this cell is documented to prevent the machine starting prematurely and putting people at risk.
The machine or system can only be restarted after all persons have been logged out of the safe list in the danger zone. Central management of the safe list offers advantages, especially for large plants. This offers a significant time and flexibility advantage.
Pilz’s solution focuses on maintenance protection, which, in addition to access authorisation, also ensures protection against unintentional starting of the machines. It is designed specifically for plant and machinery with hazardous areas, which are protected by safety fences.
With this solution, Pilz provides a digital maintenance safeguard that flexibly meets both safety and industrial security requirements – key-in-pocket ensures that the machine does not restart during maintenance work, and that unauthorised persons cannot gain access.
In this way, key-in-pocket offers an economical, efficient alternative to mechanical lockout-tagout maintenance locks, which are fitted to all safety doors. As the plant can be entered or exited at different safety gates, the Pilz solution offers staff greater flexibility, and therefore, considerable time savings during maintenance.
According to Pilz, key-in-pocket offers a wide range of benefits, including: maximum safety for employees, uncomplicated identification and process reliability, plus seamless documentation of maintenance times and access.