When designing plasma cutters, the work of which consists in creating a plasma arch with an extremely high temperature using high current intensity, you must start with the operator’s safety. Yes, we have a crap at this point, but we are glad that you appreciate our approach to safety. Today it will be about the machine’s modes.
The machine is started by inserting the key into the place of selection of modes. According to the norm, the key is a “ignition” of the machine – the equivalent of the ignition in the car. The main difference, resulting from safety standards, is the possibility of pulling the key and blocking any mode of operation in which it is located. This protects the operator against unauthorized access to the machine. During compulsory training, the operator finds out how to deal with the machine in individual modes.
Depending on the configuration of the machine in Stigal plasma cutters, we have 2 or 3 modes of operation:
- local work,
- Remote work (optionally in the case of cutter with the remote control of the EasyControl or Multicontrol remote control).
After turning on the machine and inserting the key by the operator, the machine is ready to work in local mode. This means taking over the service from the main touch panel placed at the cutter. The panel is located at a safe distance, is stationary and allows the machine to operate, load the program, start, positioning, etc. With it you can control the entire machine and standing in front of the panel the operator is safe. In addition, the panel is equipped with an independent safety button, function buttons and a 8-handed jacket for moving the machine. In the case of local operating mode, the risk of a dangerous situation is minimal, because the operator is at the machine, away from the potentially dangerous zone and sees its work surroundings.
The next mode of work is “I – remote work”. The safety procedure clearly determines the operator’s behavior when you choose this mode. The operator turns the key to this mode “I” and pulls out the key. When the mode changes, all buttons and manipulator and touch screen of the plasma cutter become inactive, and the machine is only controlled by the EasyControl remote control. Such behavior protects the operator, who, for example, with a 12 -meter -long machine, is calm that nobody will launch a cutting program at the time of planting and positioning the material. Nobody will start the portal and there will be no impact or the cutting process is broken, which in turn can generate an additional cost in the case of working with expensive material. The operator using the remote control can run the cutting program and go to the next steps of the cutting process. It can control the entire machine and its activities. In the event of, for example, the situation of exhaustion of the battery in the control remote control and lack of control over the device, security systems will immediately stop the machine in emergency mode. The designed security systems supervise that only one driver is responsible for driving the machine. It can be a remote pilot or main panel. Therefore, when the connection is lost with the remote control (exhaustion of the battery, loss of range – too far away with the remote control from the machine or damage to the device itself) there will be an emergency stopping of the plasma cutter – switching to a safe state. After completing work in remote mode, the operator puts the key and changes the operating mode to “0 – local work”. The pilot then becomes inactive, and the control returns to the touch panel.
The last mode described will be “II – maintenance” mode. The mode is often overlooked in other companies and replaced by pressing the safety button, which is incompatible with the norm and still dangerous – the safety button may impress any outsider and thus start the machine, being unconscious that someone can perform work with them being invisible. In Stigal, we never went short and designed the “maintenance” mode. In the case of working at the machine, the operator turns the key to position II and pulls it out by taking it. At this point, information about the mode in which the machine is and the touch screen and the control pilot stops on the screen, and plasma aggregate is blocked. The operator can work safely on the machine by performing his duties – e.g. replace the operational parts or load or discharge the material. It is not possible to launch a deliberate or accidental machine, move it, firing the program, and a dangerous plasma arch. After the maintenance work is completed, the operator puts the key and goes into the appropriate plasma cutter control mode.
During operators’ training, we pay special attention to security issues, translate and show examples and possibilities. We realize how easy it can get to the accident and only thanks to complying with safety rules, using the appropriate modes, pulling out the key and holding it with us we always have full control over the machine and thus minimize the possibility of a dangerous situation. However, if such STIGAL plasma cutters occur, they have safety buttons (so -called “safety mushrooms”) placed on the main panel and two placed on the movable portal in the fastest available place. The whole system is independent and the machines have been designed in a way that prevents them from starting if security systems do not confirm readiness in the control program.
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