Creating Safety Retrofits for Inverted Power & Free Conveyor Access


Our client for this project was an automobile assembly plant in Windsor.

The Challenge

Our client has a section of their plant that they wanted to access safely to complete tune-ups, adjustments, and regular routine maintenance to their inverted power and free conveyor system.  The assembly plant did not want to stop production while performing maintenance or adjustments, as downtime is expensive.

The solution also needed to protect any general labourers and production workers who may walk into the area from getting injured. The area needed to protect any employees who came by from the conveyor systems while allowing engineers and other trained employees to enter the area without stopping production.

Our client also requested that our work be completed during off hours to prevent any production slowdown. This meant that we had to send a team on a weekend, instead of during the week.

The Solution

Pendant grips like the one pictured above were used on this project to ensure production could still be performed while maintenance was completed in the facility.
Pendant grips like the one pictured above were used on this project to ensure production could still be performed while maintenance was completed in the facility.

In an effort to improve employee safety and protect against potential accidents, CSI implemented a comprehensive safety perimeter zone that includes a fenced-off area with a safety gate. Each gate was equipped with a live person switch, similar to those used in robotic integration, which requires individuals to hold onto a pendant while working within the gated area.

This system, like our BSAFE power management system, allows for maintenance and adjustments to be completed without compromising employee safety or production numbers and quality.

The pendant was designed to respond to changes in grip, shutting down the conveyor system if something happens to the individual. The system was designed to accommodate different reactions in case of injury – some people panic and tighten their grip in emergency situations, and some are forced to let go of what they are holding onto. By keeping in mind both reactions we protect employees who respond in different ways.

The gated area was also designed with a secure handle so that the conveyor system will stop if an employee opens it without the pendant gripped.

To meet the needs of the assembly line production demands, the CSI team worked on-site during the building’s off hours on the weekend. We had 48 hours to complete the build and brought in a team of two engineers to complete 12-hour shifts around the clock to make the changes needed.

To ensure the quality of the build was up to our standards, our team was also there at the start of production on the Monday at 5 am for surveillance, and to ensure the safety retrofits were working as intended.

The Outcome

Our team developed an innovative and effective safety system for our client’s assembly plant that ensures production can be completed while repairs and maintenance are performed. The solution was approved by a pre-start review (PSR) engineer for use.

Our client has not had any safety incidents since we installed the new protection system, ensuring their employees are safe and their production standards are kept running effectively.

If you are looking to introduce innovative safety retrofits to your facility while reducing downtime, contact CSI today to see how we can help.

For over 20 years, CSI has provided expert engineering services as a Control Systems Integrator in both Canada and the United States. Our automation and electrical system designs reach throughout industries and across the world. With experienced and knowledgeable engineers and skilled workers, we are a key component in our customers’ automated control solutions.

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