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Improve Machine Guarding Without Investing in a Complete Redesign

Is there a section in your facility that just constantly seems to generate problems? Or maybe it's a certain product in the warehouse that your maintenance team continuously needs to repair? When there's a consistent issue facing your facility, a facility manager's first instinct is to implement a solution to put a stop to it. But if the problem is larger than one off-the-shelf product can fix, in lieu of a complete redesign for that area of your facility, it's often tempting to have your team spin up a customized machine guarding solution and figure out a way to make it work.

But as with most quick fixes, in the long run it's best to get something done correctly from the get-go. Now, that doesn't have to mean complete redesign, but you should create a solution that's meant for asset protection, not one that's pieced together.

improve-machine-guarding.jpgCustomized Solutions

We see folks implement a custom homemade solution for their machine guarding issues all the time — some to better results than others. When it comes down to it, the decision tends to be made for one of two reasons.

The first scenario is that your team has identified an area they're having an issue with consistently and now you're looking to put a stop to it once and for all. You've discovered what you believe to be the root cause of damage and are looking to piece together a solution that will directly eliminate that problem.

The second scenario typically occurs when a facility is putting something new in. Perhaps you've just installed a brand new piece of machinery or upgraded an existing area and want to improve your damage prevention as well. If there's going to be a lot of attention on one specific section of your warehouse, it's only natural to pull out all the stops to make sure nothing goes wrong.

More Harm Than Good

Unfortunately, when you're implementing a homemade fix, a lot of time and effort is spent developing a solution that often ends up impeding more than it helps. You might see the problem and have a vision of why an area needs guarding put in, but there could be a reason that there was no machine guarding solution there in the first place.

For example, say there were some instances of damage and potential safety concerns around the forklift charging station. At first, implementing a barrier to stop pedestrian movement to that area might seem like the perfect solution to solve that issue. But if you don't stop to think about how that product will impact the flow of your facility, it could also dramatically increase the amount of throughput times on all related processes if placed in the wrong location.

Proper Machine Guarding

While it might seem cost effective to have the guys down in the welding department whip up a customized solution to meet that needs of that one specific issue, the amount of labor time before you'll even be able to install the end product tends to outweigh any cost-saving benefits. With a modular protective guarding solution, your team can piece together the perfect asset protection for all issues that arise in a matter of hours, not days.

Without that, as with most in-house solutions, your team is likely pulling scrap pieces together. Even if each piece has been properly measured based on your assessment of the situation, your machine guarding solution will only be as good as the materials behind it. If that's fabricated steel, you're likely to destroy the flooring and create more of a hazard if anything were to go wrong. By leaving machine guarding to the experts, you can take advantage of flexible, shock-absorbing material that will ensure that both the machines on your floor and the team that operates them remain safe and sound.

To improve machine guarding without a full redesign, it's all about implementing changes in the right way. There is a solution for the problem you're seeing. It's just a matter of finding it through proper assessment, planning, placement and installation. And for that, Mccue can help.


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