Mechanical Guards Market: Introduction

Every machinery component has its own specific hazards of a mechanical and non-mechanical nature. Machines can lead to a variety of injuries that range from minor cuts, burns or abrasions to even serious injuries such as lacerations, fractures, debilitating injuries or even amputations. A mechanical guard is often the first line of defence against any and every kind of machine operation injuries. Every machine requires adequate safeguards to shield machine operators and company employees from hazards as a result of rotating parts, ingoing nip points, flying debris or electric sparks. The mechanical guard market is invaluable to college campuses, field stations or even leased properties where any machine operation could lead to potentially life-threatening injury. A basic understanding of how a machine works and how the mechanical guard can be of assistance can go a long way in protecting an individual from any kind of injury. That is why guards must –

  • Avoid contact – Mechanical guards need to provide a hard barrier that does not allow any body part of the operator to be in the ‘danger zone’ when the machine is being operated
  • Be secure or tamper proof – Mechanical guards should be strong and secure for workers to be unable to bypass, tamper, remove or disable them. The mechanical guards must be attached to the machine whenever possible. If the mechanical guard cannot be attached to the machine, it could be fixed someplace else
  • No new hazard can be created - A mechanical safeguard would be self-defeating if it creates a hazard such as a jagged edge, shear point or a rough surface that could lead to a laceration. Guard edges have to be bolted or rolled up such that the sharp edges are all but eliminated. Mechanical guards must not obstruct the view of the operator. Lubrication has to be permitted with the guard still in place. The operator should ideally lubricate the machine without getting rid of the mechanical guards
  • Should not hamper the machine operation – A mechanical safeguard that prevents a machine worker from working quickly and efficiently could be disregarded or overridden soon. Adequate safeguarding may even improve efficiency as it can ease any apprehensions the worker may have regarding their own safety

Mechanical Guards Market: Types of hazards

A number of mechanical actions and motions could be hazardous to workers working around or operating machinery. The three primary hazardous mechanical actions and motions are –

  1. Hazardous motions – This consists of reciprocating motion, rotating machine parts and transverse motions
  2. Points of operation – This are the places where the machine bores, cuts, shapes or bends the stock placed through it
  1. Shear and pinch points – This is where the body or clothing part may get caught between a stationary and moving object. Some examples are power transmission apparatus including belts, flywheels, pulleys, couplings, cams, spindles, connecting rods, gears, and other components of the machine that transmit energy

In addition to the above, there are also non-mechanical hazards that can harm machine personnel or operators working around the machinery. Some of these are debris or chips, flying splinters, sparks, sprays and splashes that are a by-product of the machine operating. It is possible to prevent these hazards by way of machine guarding and using personal protective equipment.

A few guards available in the global mechanical guards market are –

  • Fixed – As the name states, a fixed guard is a permanent part of the machine. Fixed guards do not depend on moving parts in order to function and they can be made of screen, bars, plastic, sheet metal or any material strong enough to withstand impacts received during prolonged use. This is the most preferred option in the mechanical guards market
  • Interlocked – When an interlocked guard is removed or opened, the power and/or tripping mechanism automatically disengages and shuts off, stopping the machine moving parts. The machine cannot start until and unless the guard is put back into place. An interlocked guard could be powered by mechanical, electrical, hydraulic, or pneumatic power. Interlocks must not prevent remote control ‘inching’ if need be. The machine also should not automatically restart if the mechanical guard is replaced. As a best practice, every removable guard could be interlocked to eliminate occupational hazards
  • Self-adjusting – The barrier openings in these cases are decided by the stock movement. As the stock is moved into the danger area by the operator, the guard is pushed back, allowing an opening only just enough to admit the stock. After the stock has been removed, the self-adjusting guard goes back to the stationary position. Self-adjusting mechanical guards protect operators by putting a barrier between the operator and the danger area. These guards can be made of metal, plastic or any other toughened material

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Mechanical Guards Market

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