De-Risking Manufacturing Automation Equipment for Hazards and Failures
Risk is always with us on some level. Consciously or subconsciously, we continually look for ways to de-risk our lives, trying to minimize the likelihood and effects of real or perceived threats. While perceptions often vary, embracing risks, rather than ignoring them, is always the first step to successfully de-risking.
Within Manufacturing Automation, we analyze and de-risk to prevent hazards and failures from unsafe equipment or processes that could lead to injuries, system failures, downtime, and increased costs.
AC has decades of experience analyzing risks across hundreds of projects – vital experience that enables us to be highly effective at de-risking your automation equipment and processes.
When you engage with AC engineering teams, our engineers work closely with you to clearly and objectively identify potential hazards and failures so we can recommend the most efficient design changes to new projects and/or retrofits for legacy equipment.
After which, from a de-risked baseline, we can help you plan for periodic re-evaluations to prevent new risks from creeping in over time as equipment is upgraded or modified.
Using proven methodologies, our de-risking approach also ensures ongoing compliance with current and emerging industry standards and best practices.
Depending on the application, we can guide safety and risk analysis through a templated de-risking processes:
> Using a Safety Risk Assessment (SRA), we identify safety hazards and prioritize reduction measures to de-risk new or existing equipment and operational processes.
> Using the principles of a Failure Mode & Effects Analysis (FMEA), we prioritize functional performance objectives to identify assemblies and parts at risk.
Today we’d like to share some of the insights to the analysis and de-risking process that we’ve gleaned over the years. How we can help with your specific application or equipment? Talk with an AC engineer today.
Risk Analysis Approaches for New or Existing Equipment
De-Risking New Equipment for Successful Design Outcome
During the development of new manufacturing automation tools, our engineers analyze safety risks and potential failures throughout all stages of a tool’s design. During a SRA, all specifications, limitations, and tasks related to your equipment’s concept design are scrutinized for de-risking.
Safety is at the core of early concepts and drawings, but we use risk assessments to prove that safety and performance have been fully and objectively defined and de-risked.
Smaller projects usually have less risk, but large scale projects inherently have many different risk factors. Our process includes collaboration with all teams and disciplines to ensure the results of the SRA are reviewed and confirmed with all stakeholders before moving from the concept to the build phase.
By focusing on risk early and throughout all stages of development, we ensure that efficient and cost effective design outcomes are reached for your equipment regarding:
> Personnel safety and health
> Tool design and part functionality
> Manufacturing success: uptime, speed, volume, and quality
Analyzing and De-Risking Existing or Legacy Equipment to Retrofit for Safety
Equipment that passes a safety or failure analysis may need to be re-evaluated periodically as new risks can creep in over time. Ongoing upgrades or modifications to hardware, software, and processes – changes that were not part of the original de-risked design – can create new hazards and failure points that put your personnel and/or production in jeopardy.
That’s why it’s critical to regularly re-evaluate your manufacturing automation equipment and related processes. AC works with you and your team to uncover risk that may have been introduced at some point since the tool’s last safety check:
> Has previously de-risked equipment been modified since implementation?
> Have original components been upgraded by the manufacturer that introduces functionality or operator interaction not previously reviewed for safety?
> Have components been added to or removed from the tool?
> Has management set new benchmarks for tool operation that impact the safe operation of the tool? What design changes enable hitting benchmarks without risk or with risk reduced?
> Have there been any safety or performance failures with existing equipment that should be analyzed and prioritized immediately?
> For legacy equipment you inherited, has there ever been a proper risk assessment?
As always, AC works with you to prioritize our approach and ensure safety redesign or retrofit solutions meet your objectives and budget constraints while achieving safety compliance and maximum uptime.