PLASTICS works to update standards
This year, the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) will conduct a five-year review and revision of some of its machinery safety standards to ensure that they meet changing workplace conditions and newly available safety features, said Megan Hayes, the association’s director of industry standards. The review process is in its earliest stages, with most group members yet to be selected, though the association already has chosen a few leaders for some specific standards.
The 2018 PLASTICS Standards Workplan for Machinery Safety Standards includes:
Revision of PLASTICS B151.5, plastic film and sheet winding machinery. This standard wasn’t reviewed in 2013, meaning the relevant machines continued to be covered by more general safety standards. Providing a revision this year means the standard specific to these machines will “come back to life,” Hayes said.
Proposed changes to the standard include aligning it more closely with other B151 standards, including making sure that the standard uses similar terms and definitions as other standards in the category; adding unwinders and slitter rewinders to the group of machines this standard applies to; and considering a more risk-based approach compared to the current prescriptive approach, Hayes said. A risk-based approach can offer users more flexibility in determining how to apply safety measures for their equipment, whereas a prescriptive approach can be more rigid and include redundancies.
For example, Hayes said, during the recent revision of B151.1, safety requirements for injection molding machines, PLASTICS performed a risk analysis of mechanical safety devices (also known as jam bars or drop bars) for horizontal machines. Because the devices were deemed redundant, they became optional under the standard.
Among the safety precautions covered in the film and sheet winding machinery standard are guarding, thermal hazards and safety circuits.
Revision of PLASTICS B151.11, granulators, pelletizers and dicers. Jason Forgash, president of Bay Plastics Machinery, and Dave Miller, GM for size reduction at Conair Group and Republic Machine, will lead the effort. Hayes said that proposed changes to this standard include aligning it with other B151 standards (including terms and definitions); adding new machinery such as shredders to the group of machines the standard applies to; and considering a more risk-based approach. These machines also are covered by more general safety standards.
Miller said workgroups are yet to be established. He would like to see as many participants as possible. Interested participants can contact PLASTICS. “The more voices, the better,” he said. The standard covers feed areas, hoppers, blades; and other potentially hazardous parts of the machines.
Review of PLASTICS B151.20, plastic sheet production machinery. In this case, the committee will consider whether to revise, reaffirm or withdraw the standard. Among the safety precautions covered in this standard are guards for web-cutting devices and counter-rotating nips; standards for nip roll openings and closings; movable guards and emergency conditions.
Review of PLASTICS B151.27, the integration of robots with injection molding machines. Robots, including collaborative robots, are becoming more prevalent in plastics plants. The standard covers testing, power requirements, safeguarding, emergency stops and other safety elements when robots are in use.
Just as with B151.20, PLASTICS must review B151.27 within five years of publishing the standard. The committee will either revise, reaffirm or withdraw the standard.
Phillip Britt, correspondent
Plastics Industry Association Washington