Awloescher

Automation integration in tooling projects

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I'm an automation tech in a tool and manufacturing facility.  Lately, we've quoted a few projects for customers that include tooling (stamping dies usually) as well as some partial automation.  The automation is fairly simple usually...motor, drive, actuator to transfer material in 2 axes, e.g.  The company president and quoting engineers don't think it's a big deal for us to do this, but I'm a little wary to agree to these projects.  I have 2 years experience doing all sorts of small programming tasks, wiring, control panel design and build, troubleshoot, etc. However, I also know that there are a lot of industry and safety standards to follow when you start machine building/integrating for customers.  The tooling build is straightforward and is our forte.  But we have no electrical/controls engineers, and we have no standards really for automation "builds".  I've done smaller projects for us and I'm trying to develop some sort of standards, but there was nothing like that when I came into this position.  

Anyway, should I undertake these sorts of projects in your opinion or not? And if I would, what sort of knowledge/standards should I master in terms of liability and safety, and where would be a good place to start in developing a wiring/electrical schematic standard?

Thanks for your assistance.

Andrew

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It isn't hard to do some basic automation like you are talking about, I bet you could handle it.  But the big gotcha is in the machine safety.   You need to make automated equipment as safe as possible and document all of the steps you took and potential issues you addressed.  The process for Risk Assessment is detailed in ISO12100. 

In the end though, it is up to the end user who installs the equipment in their plant to verify it is completely safe in the US.  You need to design a safe product, but the person who buys it needs to verify it is safe after installation.  In Europe, the machine builder carries more of the responsibility for the safety of the machine after installation. 

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Thanks for the reply. I appreciate your advice!

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There are lot's of safety training offerings through Automation Vendors {Rockwell, Omron, Schneider, Siemens, etc} which can increase your knowledge and ease your concerns.  I found the TUV FS Technician for Machinery a great starting point -  https://www.tuv.com/landingpage/en/training-functional-safety-cyber-security/detail-pages/zertifikate/fs-technician.html .  The other bit of advice after 30 plus years doing this,  Find a reasonable liability umbrella for yourself {$1 million has never cost me more the $15/month}.  Not that I've ever needed it, but having it gives me peace to sleep at night.

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Sure, go ahead, you can definitely do it. Basic automation will require some money, but it's worth it

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