“We find tailored solutions”

In an inter­view, Thomas Nitsche, Senior Man­ager of Sales Training at Pilz, explains where the chal­lenges lie in the pack­aging industry, how packing plants are designed and what cus­tomers can rely on from Pilz.

What role does safety play in the packaging industry?

It is the nature of packing plants to exe­cute haz­ardous move­ments that users need to be pro­tected from. This is exac­er­bated by the cur­rent trend toward single-product pack­aging and indi­vid­u­al­i­sa­tion. You no longer find cookies together in one package, but instead indi­vid­u­ally pack­aged. Pack­aging that is growing increas­ingly more sophis­ti­cated leads to the pack­aging process having to become quicker and more effi­cient. This means that the throughput is increased. And with the increased speed of the move­ments and the high degree of automa­tion, the danger posed by the pack­aging machines and plants also increases. The safety tech­nology must also be adapted to these growing chal­lenges.

What specific support does Pilz provide?

We sup­port you across the entire pack­aging process – from pri­mary and sec­ondary pack­aging to end-of-line. During the pri­mary pack­aging process, the end product makes direct ­con­tact with the plant and the pack­aging mate­rial. Accord­ingly, the require­ments for ­sterility and so-called hygienic design are high. Pilz thus pro­vides robust stain­less steel ­ver­sions of safety gate switches such as the wash­able PSENmag VA in IP 67/69k with a very wide tem­per­a­ture range.

What else needs to be taken into account in addition to hygiene?

The process must also be pro­tected against un‑­authorised access. This can be per­formed using a mod­u­larly designed oper­ating mode selec­tion and access per­mis­sion system such as PITreader and PIT­mode fusion. With this, cer­tain func­tions and safe oper­ating modes can only be called up or gates, flaps and covers opened by people with the cor­re­sponding per­mis­sion. This is a good example of how both safety and secu­rity require­ments can be cov­ered with one system.

Indus­trial fire­wall solu­tions like our Secu­rity Bridge pro­tect from unau­tho­rised external access to the machine con­troller – for example during ser­vice and main­te­nance. It mon­i­tors the data traffic between the PC and con­troller and reports ­unau­tho­rised changes to the con­trol project – making manip­u­la­tion impos­sible.

And in secondary packaging?

The indi­vidual pack­aging is placed into outer pack­aging, such as card­board boxes. Tray for­mers are used here, for which Pilz now offers a new TÜV Süd cer­ti­fied solu­tion. This pre­vents reaching into the machine when the card­board stack is used up.

What must be taken into account when goods are placed on a pallet?

Pal­letising is pri­marily per­formed using robots that take pack­ages from the con­veyor and stack them on a pallet. The safety con­cept of these end-of-line cells often includes safety fences with safety gates and open­ings for feeding the pack­ages as well as loading and unloading the pal­lets. To safe­guard the open­ings, we offer safety light cur­tains and scan­ners that are also used for pro­tec­tion against encroach­ment from behind. The safety gates are ide­ally safe­guarded with our mod­ular safety gate system com­prising PSEN­m­lock, a handle module and the push‑ button unit PIT­gatebox – which can be ­com­bined with our access per­mis­sion system PITreader.

As a side note, our mod­ular safety gate system is also well suited to the big, heavy gates in the pack­aging industry. The module pro­vides the required robust­ness and tol­er­ance so that the gate – should it ever happen to warp – can still be reli­ably oper­ated. Or we are also happy to work with the cus­tomer to develop a spe­cific solu­tion depending on the require­ment, one that they can rely on.

What does “being able to rely on Pilz” mean?

For me, one part of it is the human side. We take the cus­tomer by the hand and work together to find a tai­lored solu­tion. We pro­vide com­pre­hen­sive con­sulting on machinery safety in the pack­aging industry and on the appli­ca­tion of our ­prod­ucts and pro­vide sup­port in every phase, 24/7. On the other side, our prod­ucts sat­isfy the valid stan­dards and high quality demands. The cus­tomer can be sure that employees and plants are pro­tected from haz­ards, that down­times are min­imised and that pro­duc­tivity increases as a result.

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