Defining the Types of Machine Guarding
Machine guarding is not one-size-fits-all. Different hazard zones require different types of protection. This post is part of a series of resources useful for when you’re looking to purchase this type of protective equipment. Keep reading to find the difference between the four main types of machine safeguarding along with other key terms for procurement.
Four Main Types of Machine Safeguarding
The purpose of guards is to provide barriers that prevent inadvertent access to a hazard zone that could cause harm to an employee. Each of the four types of machine guarding is different to ensure that an organization has the best safety features meeting the needs of the space and machines in your facility.
Fixed guards provide a barrier between a person and the operation or moving parts of a machine. This type of guard is not movable and is affixed using screws, nuts, or welding. They can only be opened or removed by a tool designed to open and close a fastener or destruction of the affixing means. Some examples of fixed guards are fences, gates, and protective covers for blades and moving parts.
Interlocking guards are barriers that are interfaced with the machine control system in order to prevent accidental access to a hazard by ensuring a machine cannot operate unless the guard is closed. This allows for hazardous functions of the machine to operate as long as the guard is closed.
If the guard is opened while the machine is operating, however, there is a stop command that will disengage the power source. The machine cannot be restarted until the guard is in place. Some interlocking guards also include a start function that sends a command to start the hazardous machine functions as soon as a guard is closed.
Adjustable guards provide a barrier that can be adjusted for many different operations, including various jobs, tooling setups, and sizes of stock. The adjustments are made manually depending on the needs of your facility and hazard zones.
Self-adjusting guards are barriers that move and self-adjust to prevent accidental access to the hazard zone. The guards adjust themselves depending on the size or position of the workplace and return to their standard position when no material is passing through the machine.
Other Machine Guarding Key Terms
In addition to the four primary types of machine safeguarding, there are a few other terms you may need to be aware of when discussing your machine guarding needs. We’ve put together a short list of other definitions to benefit you or someone on your team:
- Guard: A physical barrier designed as part of a machine to provide protection from a hazard zone. These barriers may act alone, as is the case with fixed guards, or as part of an interlocking device.
- Partial: A guard that serves two purposes, in part as a guard and in part as an awareness barrier.
- Perimeter: Part of the engineering controls that define the boundary of a safeguarded space.
- Perimeter guard: A guard that does not completely enclose a hazard zone, allowing the possibility for access to the hazard zone. Risk is mitigated, however, by preventing or reducing access with its size and distance from the hazard zone.
- Nip: A guard that prevents inadvertent access to hazards caused by an in-running nip point.
Since the start of WireCrafters over 50 years ago, we’ve been dedicated to finding creative solutions for your safety, security, and storage needs. We strive for innovation when it comes to our products, including our RapidGuard II.
While the main function of our wire products was originally to provide safe barriers for machines and products as well as effective security or storage through tool cribs, cages, etc. this system can be used for a number of other functions. With its high-quality material and versatility, Machine Guarding by WireCrafters helps you improve your facility.
Contact us today if you have any questions about machine guarding. Our experts are standing by to help you find the best solutions for your facility.