On an extensive crack testing machine, how can you ensure that only authorised employees gain access to the individual process steps? With the flexible operating mode selection and access permission system PITmode fusion, only authorised persons now get the “green light” at Rhode + Wagner.
In the aviation industry, even the most minor faults on the parts and components can lead to serious failures. In their production process, engine and turbine components pass through crack testing machines, as manufactured by Rhode + Wagner Anlagenbau GmbH, in order to meet the high quality standards.
The crack testing machine is around thirty metres long, approximately fifteen metres wide and up to seven metres high. It consists of several workspaces and process areas, with nine processing booths. In addition there are various infeeds, as well as robot-operated spray areas to wet the components. Crane and application systems are installed horizontally above the plant, transporting the turbine components, which weigh up to 500 kilogrammes and have up to one and a half metre diameters, from station to station.
Step by step through the crack testing machine at MTU Aero Engines
- In the first booth, a robot sprays the components with a fluorescent penetrant.
- Then they are lifted into the darkened booth on the transporter, where an industrial camera system scans the test objects from all sides. In this step, with the help of UV light, the plant operators check the complete wetting of the components.
- In the booths that follow there are various rinsing, drying and quality evaluation processes, in which even the finest hairline cracks are visible under UV light.
- At the end of the test line, the components are provided with detailed test documentation. Only those engine parts that meet the required criteria one hundred per cent make it to final assembly.
Focus on operator and machinery safety
The outline concept for this crack testing machine was already there at the end of 2018. In detail its task was to safeguard all infeed and access areas, so that any hazards for operating and maintenance employees were excluded. Above all, an intelligent solution was to be found, which would assign personalised, task-specific operating mode and access permissions to the respective operators.
“When Pilz introduced us to PITmode fusion, it was immediately clear to us that this modular system was ideal for meeting all of the customer’s Safety and Industrial Security specifications, as well as fulfilling our concepts of an efficient, user-friendly plant concept.”Holger Wagner, Managing Director of Rhode + Wagner
Operating mode selection and access permission system PITmode fusion: Safely control who can do what
Not every employee who has access to the machine needs and should be permitted to have all the operating, intervention and change options available on the extensive plant. An operator has different tasks and permissions to a machine setter or service personnel. With PITmode fusion you can completely set up a complex, safe permission management system. Employees are given their task-based, personalised RFID transponder, containing the appropriately adapted access permission and machine enable. When an operator inserts their key and selects the required operating mode, the system compares the permission on the key with the requested operating mode. When enabled, the multicolour LED ring on the PITreader gives the “green light”. That way the operator can only carry out the tasks they are intended to perform. Any other access or intervention is denied and thus manipulation protection is guaranteed. That minimises the risks and significantly increases a plant’s Safety and Industrial Security standard.
Plant operators can define up to five safe operating modes and assign the corresponding rights to authorised personnel: automatic mode, manual intervention under restricted conditions or service mode, for example.
Safety sensors as safety allies
The Pilz PSENslock, the safety gate system with process guarding, and PSENmlock, the safety gate system with mechanical guard locking, are also integral components of the safety concept. While PSENslock offers safe position monitoring with process guard locking in a single system, PSENmlock can be used up to the highest category thanks to safe interlocking and safe guard locking for the protection of personnel and processes. On the crack testing machine, PSENslock is used to safeguard position: as material is fed in, the switch checks that the necessary holding force of the electromagnet has been established and therefore the loading carriage is standing firm. The safety gate system PSENmlock ensures safe monitoring and safe guard locking on fourteen safety gates: it guarantees safe mechanical guard locking, protecting personnel in the immediate environment.
Rhode + Wagner values the flexible, easily adaptable approach of PITmode fusion: “It means we can guarantee to our customers that plants have the very latest safety technology. At the same time they benefit from higher availability of their machinery”, says Holger Wagner. For this reason, all future plants that need to switch between different control sequences and operating modes are to be equipped with the innovative operating selection and access permission system from Pilz.
About Rhode + Wagner Anlagenbau GmbH
Rhode + Wagner Anlagenbau GmbH specialises in the conception, planning, design and production of complete systems for surface coating and decoating, waste water treatment, water preparation and goods transport systems, to the customer’s exact specifications. “Our customers must be able to rely completely on the fact that our testing stations safely and reliably detect defects such as cracks, holes and other conditions that are contrary to the required quality standards”, explains Holger Wagner, the company’s Managing Director.