If we are being honest, metal bending press brakes are one of the most dangerous machines that metal fabrication industry is blessed with. According to The US Department of Labor, these press brakes causes more than 350 amputations each year. But these are only the reported ones.
This explains such strict words from labor safety-related organizations towards the metal fabrication shop owners.
But why Press Brakes are Dangerous?
Regardless of the age, your press brake can cause serious accidents. The main danger is in accessing the point of operation. Also reaching around its safety device to get exactly to the operation point at the machine’s end.
The quick backgauges and the pinch point pose great risks to the press brake operator too. It doesn’t stop here. Metal fabricators often get refurbished or used press brakes to save from the machine expenses. Most of the time, these press brakes conditions are not entirely safe. First of all, their primary controls can be faulty or the parts may be too old to work as planned. These faults always possess a great threat to the machine’s operator.
Basic Options for Press Brake Protection
There are several options available for the safety of a metal bending press brake.
The primary type of safeguarding the press brake is a fixed & interlocked barriers that are coupled with a two-hand control. This isn’t a functional approach as the work-piece is always held close to the operational point during its braking process.
Restraints and Pull-backs are other approaches towards physical protection. But both of them have limitation and restrictions. That’s why they are not popular among metal fabricators. They both shackle the machine operator with the press brake and restrict the mobility.
That’s why, be it stainless steel fabrication, aluminium fabrication or steel fabrication, operators try other approaches. There are some more functional approaches that are far better than the previous two.
Two hands down or foot-through the device is a great approach for metal rolling or metal bending machine operators. In this method, operators need to place their palm on the pads and their foot pedal needs to be engaged long before the ram can come down.
In some events, this will work. But this one raises ergonomic issues. Besides, this method is much slower and given by the nature of metal fabricators, it’s safe to assume that this one is not metal fabrication shop owner’s favorite.
This one is a new adaption to the safeguarding of these machines. This is Available to the fabricators centered around the electrosensitive protection devices. The light curtains are one of the most important and popular safety tools for this category.
It started as the simple device that can detect product but it evolved into a full-on machine guarding product.
Laser Focus on the Safety
AOPD is the newest addition to the press brake safety category. It gives the machine operators a close proximity to the operation point.
The biggest advantage of the AOPDs is that the operators can easily handle their workpieces up close to the dies during the time when they are using machine’s foot-switch to active machine cycle.
Conclusion: To avoid any causalities in your workplace, safeguarding your press brake isn’t enough. You need to adopt safety measure to the laser cutting machine, metal rolling machine, welding equipment or any other metal fabrication related tools that may possess a potential threat to the machine operators. Only then, you can say with confidence that your workers are safe with the machine and the overall structure of the facility, thanks to the safety measure you took.