What should you do if your machine is get­ting on in years? We show Pilz’s sys­tem­atic approach to bringing plant and machinery back up to the state of the art – including higher avail­ability and a longer ser­vice life.

You can find them almost every­where: “classic machines” in pro­duc­tion halls. They have been working hard for many years now. Up-to-date ­automa­tion and safety tech­nology can breathe new life into them. How­ever, a so-called retrofit of the ­machines gen­er­ally leads to a number of ­ques­tions. But the focus is always: the ques­tion of cost effec­tive­ness. In the first step it is there­fore impor­tant to con­sider what the retrofit should include: a simple exchange of old for new, or should the existing machine be expanded or the process opti­mised and adapted? How does Pilz sup­port cus­tomers when answering these ques­tions? Back to the begin­ning!

1. The risk assessment

Experts from Pilz thor­oughly examine the “classic machine” under con­sid­er­a­tion in the first step and create a risk assess­ment: Where does the plant or machinery stray from the state of the art according to the cur­rent stan­dards sit­u­a­tion? Which safety-related gaps have to be filled? And how? For this pur­pose, Pilz also makes basic sug­ges­tions for achieving the nec­es­sary mechan­ical and safety-related pro­tec­tion objec­tives as part of a safety con­cept.

2. The safety design

If needed, our experts then create a detailed safety design for the imple­men­ta­tion – a con­sulting com­po­nent that smoothly tran­si­tions into the imple­men­ta­tion and includes hard­ware as well as soft­ware, where pos­sible. Which com­po­nents should be exchanged in order to pre­serve avail­ability? Which mov­able guards or pro­tec­tive ­devices should be used to guar­antee safety of the machine and increase avail­ability and ­pro­duc­tivity? Which elec­tronic access sys­tems could improve the pro­tec­tion against manip­u­la­tion? Con­sulting is adapted to the indi­vidual needs of the cus­tomer here – from smaller to larger retrofit scopes – and is ini­tially fully product-­neu­tral. The cus­tomer can then decide how to pro­ceed with the retrofit, and with whom. If so desired, Pilz will pro­vide the entire package from one source: Con­sul­tancy ser­vice including ­engi­neering and inte­gra­tion.

3. Following the conversion: the verification and validation

Before com­pleting a suc­cessful con­ver­sion, the ver­i­fi­ca­tion and val­i­da­tion of the tar­geted safety fea­tures must still be per­formed. After all it’s not just impor­tant what one does, but also that each step is checked for accu­racy. An approach that is a matter of course at Pilz. Pro­to­cols required by stan­dards trans­par­ently verify every step.

4. Training the employees

And finally, the employees should also be able to easily and straight­for­wardly deal with the ­machine upgrade in their daily work. The experts offer sem­i­nars for safety-related soft­ware, hard­ware and design as well as machinery safety and CE sem­i­nars in the training cen­tres at Pilz loca­tions or on-site with the cus­tomer. On the whole, an all-round safe and sus­tain­able retrofit!

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