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Machine and workstation safety with LED modular signal tower

04 July 2016

The guidelines for the provision of visual and audible warning indicators on machines and equipment are quite vague.

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The Machinery Directive offers guidance but little in the way of ‘you must....’ It is more a case of applying 'good practice' to ensuring safety in the workplace.

Visible and audible warning lights on a machine or workstation generally indicate a change in status and may also warn of an error in machine operation or a malfunction. Staff working in the vicinity of equipment need to be aware of the change in machine status.

WERMA offers a range of Beacons and Sounders in Europe that conform to the guidelines relating to machine safety. If the signal device on a machine is prioritised for safety purposes, the new directive stipulates that the design engineer must include a safety value for the device in his risk analysis.

WERMA now offers these safety values for more than 100 signalling devices which have been tested by the German technical testing authority, TÜV. All products achieve the best MTTFd (mean time to dangerous failure) value of greater than 100 years. MTTFd specifies the nominal operational duration until device failure in accordance with the EN ISO 13849-1 safety standard.

Putting the recommendations into practice can still leave the end user perplexed by the vast choice of optical and audible products on offer and WERMA is frequently challenged to offer advice on the best solution to be offered to meet the criteria the end user is faced with. Most common issues are always questions of how bright the lights are, how visible they will be, what sort of volume output the audible alarms may have and less frequently what sort of protection rating do the products have in case they might be exposed to, for example, wash down procedures.

Dealing with these sorts of questions is relatively straightforward. Nowadays LED lights are incredibly bright compared with just a few years ago and, available in a steady green light to indicate “all is well” and then escalating through blinking yellow – “attention, potential issue” to a bright flashing red which everybody will notice indicating “major hazard”. There is an easy solution to guide the user to the appropriate product.

Modular, safe and easy to assemble, LED towers like the KS40 family from WERMA combine these features and thus make them ideal for machine safety applications.

Audible products are commonly available with simple volume adjustment controls built into the alarm which the operator can easily adjust to ensure that the alarm is audible but still complies with noise level/ear protection requirements. Also common are multitoned sirens so that clear and relevant audible tones can be selected which cannot be confused with, say, the fire alarm bell.


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