Automated and semi-automated cartoning machines are fast, reliable and versatile enough to handle a variety of product and container types, making them invaluable to countless packaging operations. They significantly enhance not only an operation’s productivity but also overall line efficiency.
With these cartoning machines, a myriad of intricate functions are performed at speeds that were previously unimaginable, and a single machine is now able to handle a wide variety of carton sizes, shapes, and materials. But these benefits also come with safety risks.
Common Hazards of Cartoning Machines
One of the machine’s most common hazards is at the carton magazine infeed, where the flat blanks are drawn in for their initial shaping. Once the magazine has emptied of blanks, the access point and moving machinery are exposed.
An operator might try to reach into the magazine to hand-feed more material. The closer the operator’s hands and fingers get to the fast-moving parts, the greater the risk of injury.
An even greater hazard arises when a blank carton misfeeds. Once again, the operator may be tempted to reach inside to clear the jam, again putting hands and fingers at risk.
How to Safeguard Cartoning Machines
One solution involves using a variation of photoelectric sensors called “multi-pulse” technology that is tied into a sophisticated safety controller incorporated within the machine’s control programming. SICK’s Safeguard Detector system is just such a solution.
Mounted on the sides of the cartoning machine, the multi-pulse sensors “recognize” objects and activity around the access point in relation to normal operating functions. When the sensors detect an empty blank carton magazine, the safety controller automatically stops the machine and places it in safe mode until new cartons are loaded. This eliminates the operator’s ability to continue feeding blank cartons manually.
A multi-pulse sensor system can also detect jams and other problems, again stopping the cartoner’s infeed activity until the problem is properly cleared and the machine reset.
Benefits of A Multi-Pulse Sensor System
In cartoning machine applications, it is essential to implement a highly reliable, cost-effective method for preventing injuries without compromising overall operational efficiency. A multi-pulse sensor system provides these benefits and more thanks to:
- High processing rate. The high processing rate of both sensors and their controllers allow the system to perform with no reduction in line speed, allowing the packager to maintain current or even increased production runs.
- Automatic adjustment to production changes. Multi-pulse sensors and their safety parameters adjust automatically with production changes. When new carton shapes or sizes are called for, the sensors are ready for them.
- Integration with existing control systems. This built-in intelligence enhances system-wide coordination from start to finish.
To learn more about safeguarding cartoning machines, watch the video:
This blog post is meant as a guideline only and is accurate as of the time of publication. When implementing any safety measures, we recommend consulting with a safety professional.