Fortress Non-Contact Switch Gets TÜV SÜD Certification

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High resolution photo: http://halmapr.com/FOR/NCS_factory.jpg

Industrial safety specialist Fortress Interlocks has achieved TÜV SÜD certification for its new non-contact switch, the amGardncs. This means the device meets all the necessary requirements of the European Machinery Directive as part of a safety system.

“This is a big step forward for Fortress and is a welcome addition to our traditional product range, increasing our interlock capabilities,” commented Rob Johnson, the company’s senior electronics engineer.

Designed as part of Fortress’ new amGardnct range of safety interlocks, the amGardncs is a robust, coded, non-contact, safety proximity switch. Extremely long-lasting and requiring virtually no maintenance, it is ideal for applications where precise guidance of guards can be difficult. In addition it is resistant to shock and vibrations and offers coding as protection against tampering.

Key features of the amGardncs include:
• Stainless steel IP69K housing, ideal for high purity applications such as food, beverage and pharmaceutical manufacturing, or anywhere where robustness is important
• Long-lasting, requiring virtually no maintenance
• Resistant to shock and vibrations
• Copes with a high level of misalignment
• PLe Cat 4/SIL3 safety rating
• Can be used as a coded interlock in accordance with EN14119
• Integrated electronics monitor for faults and ensure safety relay does not enter a fault state
• Local user indication
• Monitor outputs for use in the control system
• Available with a variety of termination options

The amGard range of safety interlocks includes solenoid and non-solenoid safety switches and has an extensive range of additional options, including key control modules, internal and escape release, redundant sensors, lock out/tag out, push buttons, estops and indication lights, all assembled in one device. The robust construction of the amGard makes it ideal for a host of industrial applications when safety, strength and reliability are of paramount importance.

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Fortress Adds Industrial Ethernet Communications to its Interlocks

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High resolution photo: http://halmapr.com/FOR/Profinet_Factory.jpg

Industrial safety specialist Fortress Interlocks has added industrial Ethernet communications to its amGardpro range of safety interlocks. The new proNET communications module, which uses the PROFINET protocol and its extension PROFIsafe, integrates easily into the amGardpro range. This enables the amGardpro’s features to be distributed IO (input-output) on a PROFINET network, with safety information exchanged using PROFIsafe extensions. Added benefits include reduced installation costs, easier maintenance and greater availability of data for improved diagnosis.

Most safety interlocks are either not electrically connected (deliberately so in the case of some mechanical, trapped key interlocks) or are ‘wired at gate’, meaning all electrical connections go via a control PLC and safety relay. This can mean up to 20 wires from each device going to the control panel. The proNET module overcomes this by taking advantage of PROFINET and PROFIsafe, allowing operators to have just one power and Ethernet cable going from the control panel, allowing devices to be attached in a variety of topologies, depending on requirements.

The amGardpro is a range of fully integrated safety interlocks, including solenoid and non-solenoid safety switches. It has an extensive range of additional options, including key control modules, internal and escape release, redundant sensors, lock out/tag out, push buttons, estops and indication lights for enhanced functionality, all assembled in one device. The robust construction of the amGardpro makes it ideal for a host of industrial applications when safety, strength and reliability are of paramount importance.

“Making our products compatible with industrial safety networks is an essential requirement for our customers,” comments Fortress’ Managing Director Rob Lewis. “With the launch of proNET, we’re ensuring we not only meet, but exceed what people expect from us when it comes to industrial networking.”

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Fortress Interlocks Get Networked

tGard and amGardpro interlocks to get AS-i and PROFIsafe connectivity

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High resolution photo: http://halmapr.com/FOR/Profisafe_Factory_3.jpg

Industrial safety specialist Fortress Interlocks is integrating AS-interface (AS-i) and PROFIsafe (PROFIbus Safety or PROFInet Safety) connectivity into its tGard and amGardpro interlocks. The company is also developing non-contact switches and output signal switching devices which can be incorporated into its tGard and amGardpro units.

Most interlocks are either not electrically connected (deliberately so in the case of some mechanical, trapped key interlocks) or are ‘wired at gate’, meaning all electrical connections go via a control PLC and safety relay. This can mean up to 20 wires from each device going to the control panel.

To overcome this scenario, Fortress has developed a number of products that utilise either AS-i industrial networking or PROFIsafe communication technology. Both have major benefits:

AS-i is an industrial networking platform used in PLC, DCS and PC-based automation systems. It is designed to connect simple field I/O devices in manufacturing or process applications using a single 2-conductor cable. As-i connectivity dramatically reduces the number of wires required, making it possible, for example, to ‘daisy chain’ to up to 62 devices to one control panel.
PROFIsafe is a safety communication technology for distributed automation. It is designed as a separate layer on top of the fieldbus application layer to reduce the probability of data transmission errors. It allows operators to have just one power and Ethernet cable going from the control panel, allowing devices to be attached in a variety of topologies, depending on requirements.

Fortress in now integrating AS-i and/or PROFIsafe connectivity into the following safety products and over the coming months the following will be available:

• Both the tGard and amGardpro ranges will have AS-i networking
• The amGardpro will also be available with PROFIsafe
• A new stand-alone Non-Contact Switch with an AS-i version; this will also be integrated into the tGard and amGardpro ranges in the future
• An Output Signal Switching Device will be incorporated into the tGard and amGardpro

“Making our products compatible with industrial safety networks is an essential requirement for our customers,” comments Fortress’ Managing Director Rob Lewis. “With these new product developments being rolled out over the coming few months we’re ensuring we not only meet, but exceed what people expect from us when it comes to industrial networking.”

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The Importance of Safety Interlocking in the Waste and Recycling Industry

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High resolution photo: http://www.halmapr.com/FOR/DMSK2_Waste.jpg
Caption: A Fortress DMSK2 interlock on a gate, with a metal recycling facility in the background

A metal recycling firm was recently fined £35,000 by the HSE after a worker’s hands were severed while cutting metal strips on an industrial baler.

Industrial balers are used to compress recyclable material into stackable, manageable pieces before they are sent for reprocessing. This type of machinery should be extensively guarded and interlocked to ensure operators can only come into contact with the machine when the power has been isolated.

Following an HSE investigation the company in question was served an enforcement notice to cease the inherently unsafe process. The HSE found that the firm was unable to produce evidence that it had carried out a proper assessment of the risks involved in the use of a baler for cutting metal strips.

Although the employee had been taught how to operate the machine by ‘practical demonstration and supervision’, he had not seen or read the operating manual. The immediate cause of the accident was blamed on an inherently unsafe system of work, which was contrary to the manufacturer’s operating instructions and the safety instructions on the machine.

Waste and recycling – an inherently dangerous industry
Human error is always a possibility when operating dangerous machinery and it is the employer’s responsibility to guarantee the safety of its workers by installing adequate safety systems are in place.

Waste and recycling is a particularly high-risk industry. While it accounts for only about 0.5% of the employees in Britain, it accounts for 2.6% of reported injuries to employees, according to the HSE.

Ensuring compliance
In reality there is no reason for many of these injuries to keep occurring – the technology to safeguard workers on all machinery in waste recycling plant already exists. It is also mandatory for Machine manufacturers to comply with the Machinery Directive and other essential health and safety requirements.
One way of demonstrating compliance is by applying the harmonised standards of the. Directive.
In this case, a risk assessment by the metal recycling firm, complying with the requirements of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER), should have identified safety procedures as being inadequate, with further safety equipment added complying with EN ISO 13849 and EN ISO 14119 standards.

Safety interlocking
One of the most effective ways to ensure worker safety in the waste and recycling sector is machine guarding. However, machine guarding alone isn’t enough to ensure safe working practices, as there is nothing to prevent workers from using designated access points to gain entry into live machinery. It is usually necessary to include safety interlocking into the process

Safety interlocks prevent access to powered machinery and stop inadvertent start-ups while personnel are inside a dangerous area. They do this by forcing operators to isolate the power before anyone gains access. Maximum protection is afforded by incorporating keys into an interlocking system – this forces workers to retain a personal safety key with them while working inside the machine, so power can only be restarted once all the keys have been returned to their original positions. In this way, operators control their own safety.

There is a common misconception that safety interlocking is an unnecessary expense, so some companies implement cheaper alternatives, such as a Lock Out/Tag Out (LO/TO) procedures.

While LO/TO, when properly implemented, provides a minimum level of protection, one of its weakness lies in the inevitable failure of workers to always follow instructions. LO/TO’s greatest weakness is therefore interlocking’s greatest asset: a well-designed safety interlocking system forces operators to follow a pre-determined, undefeatable sequence which they cannot deviate from. This compensates for any possible worker error while successfully safeguarding against potential hazards.

While clearly requiring more investment than LO-TO, safety interlocking offers peace of mind to employers that their workers are safe. Any additional time and cost in the design process is likely to be significantly smaller than the potential financial burden associated with the risk of future litigation.

Added to that, electromechanical safety switches can be a very cost-effective solution that can be wired directly to guard doors, allowing isolation to occur at the point of entry. In addition, these safety gate switches are installed so that they can be easily monitored and not easily defeated.

Until we eliminate the ideology that safety is an unnecessary expense in the waste and recycling industry, easily avoidable industrial accidents will continue to happen.

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Fortress and Troax Partner Up for Perimeter Guarding

Fortress safety interlocks pair with Troax mesh doors to form a simple, modular and tough machine guarding system
Erlanger, Ky. (July 15, 2015) –Fortress Interlocks and Troax have combined forces, creating a new perimeter guarding system to prevent access to dangerous machinery. The system utilizes a unique new bracket that fits Fortress interlocks to Troax perimeter guarding panels, enabling the safeguarding of virtually any machinery installation.

A Troax mesh panel fitted with a Fortress safety interlock.

A Troax mesh panel fitted with a Fortress safety interlock.

Designed for both end users and OEMs, the easy-to-install brackets are 100% compatible with Fortress’ modular amGardpro and tGard ranges of modular interlocks and Troax’s modular mesh panels. Whatever configuration of interlocks or mesh panels is specified first, the brackets will always fit, making the system ideal for both new construction and retrofitting. The amGardpro and tGard interlocks combine solenoid or non-solenoid safety switches with full control functionality in one device, allowing use across a wide range of industrial applications.

The durable system is also impact resistant to 1600 joule. It has been tested in multiple configurations to ensure that the interlocks remain intact after significant force. While the mesh doors deform to absorb the shock, the safety switches remain intact and functional, ready to be installed on a replacement door. See footage of the impact testing at http://bit.ly/FortTroaxTest1 and http://bit.ly/FortTroaxTest2.

For more information about how the Fortress Troax system can be integrated into specific applications, visit www.fortressinterlocks.com, email us@fortressinterlocks.com or call 859-578-2390.

About Fortress:
Fortress Interlocks is a market leader in the design and manufacture of safety access & control systems for an extremely wide range of industries, from power generation to steel production, automotive manufacturing, food and beverage production and product recycling. With an extensive global distribution network, the company supplies industries throughout the world and has been at the forefront of safety interlocking for over forty years. A member of the international Halma Group, Fortress has its US headquarters in Erlanger, Kentucky.

About Troax:
Troax is the world leader in modular mesh panels for machine guarding, materials handling and storage applications. The company has production facilities in Sweden and the UK, offices in 17 countries and a worldwide distribution network.

Both companies are members of the Machine Safety Alliance and meet the requirements of Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC.

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Fortress Interlocks and Troax Mesh Doors up to the Impact Challenge!

A dramatic impact test on the Fortress Interlocks amGardpro interlock fitted to a Troax St30 mesh door has been captured on video.

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(Caption: Impact test with Fortress amGardpro interlock and Troax ST30 mesh door. Watch the video here)

In the test, the mesh door and interlock were subjected to a powerful impact of 1600 joule. The door was slightly deformed by the impact but no parts came loose and it was held firmly in place by the interlock. The interlock was also fully functional after the test.

“This test really demonstrates how robust our interlocks are,” says Fortress’ Managing Director Rob Lewis. Our locks really are ‘fit and forget’ for a huge range of industrial applications in the toughest environments.”

Fortress and Troax recently combined forces to create a new perimeter guarding system to protect workers from dangerous machinery. By utilising a unique new bracket which fits Fortress interlocks to Troax perimeter guarding panels and gates, it enables the safeguarding of virtually any machinery installation.

Very easy to install for both end users and OEMs, the brackets are 100% compatible with Fortress’ modular amGardpro and tGard ranges of modular interlocks and Troax’s modular mesh panels. This means that whatever configuration of interlocks or mesh panels is specified first, the brackets will always fit. Both the amGardpro and tGard interlocks combine solenoid or non-solenoid safety switches with full control functionality in one device, allowing their use across a vast array of industrial applications.

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Do you need to design safety gate switches?

Then try out Fortress Interlock’s amGard pro product configurator!

amGard pro is Fortress Interlocks’ modular interlock range for safety gate switches for heavy duty applications. Its unique modular construction (made up of actuators, head modules, adaptors, electrical switches/locks and optional push-button pods) allows easy configuration for virtually any safeguarding application up to SIL3 (EN/IEC 60261) Category 4 and PLe (EN/ISO 13849-1).

Fortress Interlocks amGard pro

Fortress Interlocks amGard pro

To assist with amGard pro configuration Fortress now has a Product Configurator on its website. By following the simple steps it allows the user configure a complete unit, with part numbers, an image, a 2D drawing and a 3D model.

The amGard pro offers a range of fully integrated safety interlocks, including solenoid and non-solenoid safety switches with many additional options including key control modules, emergency release, redundant sensors, lock out/tag out and push buttons, e-stops and indication lights for enhanced functionality. Its robust construction also makes it ideal for industrial applications when safety, strength and reliability are of paramount importance.

It replaces all adaptions normally fitted within a guarding system, so additional hardware like door catches, actuators, closing mechanisms, internal release mechanisms, key functions including authorised access and deadlocks are no longer needed. All of these separate functions can be incorporated into amGard pro configurations, resulting in the most flexible safety interlock solution available for today’s industrial environment.

Key features of the amGard pro include:

Enhanced machine control functionality

  • Integrated pushbutton control in a single unit
  • Up to three illuminated pushbuttons/lamps/selector switches, plus one e-stop
  • Up to 10 safety/access keys in one configuration

Improved Standards Compliance

  • Complies with all new and forthcoming machine safety standards
  • Integrated redundancy sensor (with coding options)
  • Single motion emergency escape release regardless of solenoid or trapped key locking mechanism

Enhanced strength

  • Stainless steel heads with mounting point, increasing retention force to 10KN
  • Standardisation and enhancement of all anti-vibration features
  • Improved weather resistance

 

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Case Study –tGard in Action

tGard is Fortress’ brand new customisable safety system that controls access to hazardous machinery and equipment.

Whatever the application, tGard has the flexibility to be configured to the customer’s needs. Housed in a metal body, tGard accepts elements (components) to create an overall assembled product that is easily mounted onto machine guarding.

You choose which elements are necessary. If you want a standalone emergency stop, you can have it; if the application requires a trapped key interlock to control access, you can have it. If a safety gate switch is needed, (solenoid or non-solenoid), you can have it, and if that gate switch needs machine control buttons integrated, then that too is possible. tGard is built to suit customer needs with almost unlimited configurations.

tGard in Action

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tGard is ideally suited to safeguard workers in the packaging industry. Modern automated packaging machines often use robots to handle bigger payloads by picking up complete layers of product for packing. The main danger associated with palletisers is the lack of visibility; a maintenance person can go into the guarded area to undertake work and, if he is underneath the machine, he may not be seen. The door can easily be closed and the machine restarted with him inside, resulting in possible injury or death. EN safety standards recommend the use of safety interlocks to protect workers from the dangers of palletising machines.

Due to its flexibility, tGard can be configured to safeguard the palletiser in a number of ways. tGard can include a solenoid controlled interlock on the guard door. This uses trapped keys to control access, thereby preventing potentially dangerous situations by ensuring actions are undertaken in a pre-determined sequence. Once the solenoid has been energised, the operator uses a unique, coded key in the door lock to shut down the machine and release the door; he then takes the released key with him into the area, preventing the door from being closed and the machine starting up again.  Machine control additions, such as ‘Request to enter’ and ‘restart’ push buttons can also be integrated into the tGard body to create an efficient, integrated system.

EN ISO 14119 standards on machine safety states that if there is a risk of a person becoming trapped behind closed guards, an emergency escape is needed. tGard features an internal release element. If an operator inside the guarded area needs to exit through another door in the cell because his first option is blocked, the operator pushes the tGard Internal Release inside the cell and is granted immediate access out of the area and away from danger.

This is an example of tGard in use; tGard is suitable for several kinds of machines in a wide range of industries from pharmaceuticals to electronics.

Benefits of tGard

Along with its flexibility, tGard offers several benefits. It offers a combination of access and control features, such as gate switches, trapped key interlocks and operator control buttons, all in one unit. It is simple and robust, and future-proof, in that it allows for elements to be added at a later stage.

tGard is easy to install, it only requires two fixings and if the ‘Quick Disconnect’ version is selected then the device comes pre-wired and the installer simply connects the cable, reducing the install time significantly in comparison to other systems on the market. tGard has been designed to be fully compliant with the new machinery safety standards.

For more information about tGard and how it can be used in your application, call Fortress Interlocks on +44 (0)1902 349 000 or email sales@fortressinterlock.com.

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tGard Access Control System from Fortress Interlocks

Customized approach maximizes safety
Erlanger, Ky. (October 17, 2013) – The new tGard Range from Fortress Interlocks is a novel approach to controlling access to hazardous machinery and equipment. The compact, metal-bodied safety system enables the custom configuration of multiple safety products including electrical safety gate switches, mechanical trapped key interlocks and electrical operator controls, for optimum safety.

tGard from Fortress Interlocks

tGard interlocks enable the custom configuration of multiple safety products including electrical safety gate switches, mechanical trapped key interlocks and electrical operator controls.

tGard systems can either be configured as separate devices or integrated into one device and are wholly customized to the needs of the end user. The range of tGard components includes safety switches (solenoid and non-solenoid), personnel keys, emergency release, push buttons, estops, indicator lamps and a choice of operating handles for both hinged and sliding guard doors. The required elements are user selected and then assembled into a robust housing, resulting in an exact configuration specific to the user’s application.

tGard is quick and easy to install and can be mounted directly onto a flat surface, doors or extruded aluminium profiles without the need for mounting plates or brackets. It is IP65 certified as standard and has been designed to be fully compliant with the latest machinery safety standards.

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A New Approach to Controlling Access to Hazardous Machinery and Equipment

Fortress Interlocks prepares for the launch of its brand new safety product, tGard.

Made up of elements, tGard options integrate mechanical trapped key interlocking, electrical safety gate switch interlocks and machine controls to create an intelligent control system.

tGard is coming soon!

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