Objective and fast: Global machine safety service

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tec.nicum provides risks assessment for a packaging line in Thailand

Schmersal - high speed product transfer system
The “Tray Line”, a new high speed product transfer system, which Trident Pack has developed & produced for Mondelez.

In early 2016, the Schmersal Group founded an independent business division for services relating to machine safety and industrial safety. This business division is called tec.nicum and consists of a global network of qualified and certified Functional Safety Engineers offering a wide range of safety services on an international basis at a consistently high level of quality.  Trident Pack and Engineering Co. Ltd in Bangkok is the latest to benefit from tec.nicum’s expertise. The Thai machine manufacturer charged tec.nicum with drawing up a risk assessment for a new packaging system that the company is delivering to the world-leading food multinational Mondelez.

The tec.nicum team for Thailand’s Trident Pack company (from left to right): Siddesh Dalal, Prasad Kulkarni, Samir Kanchan.

It is sometimes a small world – and the same applies to international machine construction. The services division of the Indian subsidiary of Schmersal found via a local machine manufacturer in Pune in the Indian state of Maharashtra that Thai company Trident Pack and Engineering Co. Ltd in Bangkok were in the market for a risk assessment in line with European standard EN ISO 12100.

Trident Pack is a medium-sized manufacturer of packaging machines and systems for food, beverages, pharmaceuticals and medical products. Among the leading customers of the Bangkok machine manufacturer is food multinational Mondelez International, which once went by the name of Kraft Foods and is the third largest food manufacturer in the world after Nestlé and PepsiCo. The food multinational makes famous international brands such as Milka chocolate, Toblerone, Philadelphia cheese, Cadbury’s, Halls, Clorets, BournVita, Tang…etc…

The tec.nicum team for Thailands Trident Pack company
The tec.nicum team for Thailand’s Trident Pack company (from left to right): Siddesh Dalal, Prasad Kulkarni, Samir Kanchan.

In Thailand, Mondelez employs around 1400 people and has two production sites, including “Lad Krabang”, the largest sweet and chewing gum production factory in South East Asia. For this factory in a suburb of Bangkok, Trident Pack has developed and produced a new high speed products transfer system for reorienting, collating and transferring “Halls Hard-boiled Candy” secondary packs from four contributing primary pack lines to a common tray packer and a flow wrapper. Mondelez is the market leader in Thailand in the chewing gum and Medicated hard boiled Candies sector. However, Mondelez demanded that, prior to delivery, Trident Pack subjected the packaging system to a risk assessment in accordance with the standard EN ISO 12100 and validated the safety functions in accordance with EN ISO 13849.

“Mondelez takes occupational safety very seriously,” explains Prasad Kulkarni, Associate Vice President Business Development at Schmersal India Pvt. Ltd, which supported and oversaw the tec.nicum project at Trident Pack. Therefore, one of Mondelez’s stated aims is to continuously improve health and safety for its employees in all areas. One of Mondelez’ two Thai factories received the Silver Award in the annual “Zero Loss Time Accident” competition held by the Thai Employment Ministry. “We have also realised that many of our customers who are part of global multinationals are introducing their own machine safety standards which then need to apply across all sites worldwide,” explains Prasad Kulkarni. This explains why Mondelez is geared towards European standards in machine safety, even for machines which are not to be used in Europe. “Once again, tec.nicum has the advantage that we can offer a consistent global standard of quality when it comes to machine safety consultancy and service and we also have the know-how in terms of standards, whether they are European directives or other national or regional standards,” stresses Prasad Kulkarni. tec.nicum’s range of services include training, consultancy services, design and technical planning, plus installation and integration of safety components into existing systems. Depending on their requirements, the customers can utilise the modular services – from the audit of a single machine to the development of complete safety technology system solutions.

Once Trident Pack had forwarded the technical specifications of the “Tray Line” packaging line to tec.nicum India, the certified Functional Safety Engineer at tec.nicum India, Siddesh Dalal, carried out a relatively short-notice safety audit on site in Bangkok in mid-September 2016. The standardised norm on machine safety EN ISO 12100 was applied, which contains general principles on risk assessment and risk reduction.

As a rule, risk assessments on machines and systems are broken down into five stages:

  1. Definition of the machine boundaries
  2. Identification of hazards or hazard situations which could arise as a result of the machine
  3. Estimation of the risk
  4. Assessment of the risk to determine whether risk reduction is required
  5. Removing the hazards or risk reduction

If it is not possible to “design the machine to be inherently safe” to remove hazards or reduce the risks associated with the hazards, technical safety measures must be used. In the case of the Tray Line in Thailand, safety doors and flaps are used, plus safety switches with separate actuators, EMERGENCY STOP buttons and safety relay modules which, if the doors are opened, ensure that the hazardous movement is stopped by means of a controller.

As the safety machine, here is dependent on a controller, Mondelez insisted that “the design of safety-related parts of controllers” must achieve a Performance Level PL in Category 3 in accordance with EN ISO 13849. This means that the safety technology needs to have fault-tolerance built in, so that a single malfunction cannot lead to a failure and must be detected to ensure switching back on is not possible.

Based on ISO 13849-2:2012 tec.nicum creates all necessary documentation (validation plan, fault lists, calculations, etc.) and carries out the validation of safety functions. In this case tec.nicum checks the circuit diagrams of the electrical, pneumatic, and hydraulic systems, as well as calculates the performance level (PL) and the PFHD values for every safety function. The validation results are documented in an understandable manner.

In the technical report presented by Siddesh Dalal at the end of the three-day audit, it was confirmed that the safety functions met all the requirements. Therefore, no additional safety measures were recommended to reduce the risk. It made no difference that the safety components used were not Schmersal products. With this risk assessment, tec.nicum India was once again pursuing its policy of product and manufacturer neutrality which is part of tec.nicum’s core philosophy. When the safety engineers take on the tec.nicum risk assessment, it is purely a neutral assessment of the safety-related aspects of the machines and the safety functions used – there is no emphasize on recommendations to use Schmersal safety products.

“Our safety engineer Siddesh Dalal was able to deliver substantial added value to the customer by explaining some of the “softer” aspects in the implementation of the safety equipment,” reports Samir Kanchan, Head of tec.nicum India.

“For example, he recommended planning an adequate distance between the control panels and the wall of the building so that the machine operator can easily reach the control panel and the internal components. He also explained in detail the requirements that a Category 3 safety circuit needed to fulfil.” Both Trident Pack and Mondelez were very pleased with tec.nicum’s objective, neutral approach to consultancy – independently of products and manufacturers – and the quick, professional way the risk assessment was carried out. As a result, tec.nicum India received an order for two more packaging lines (complete lines consisting of primary, secondary & tertiary packing for compressed mint products) from Trident Pack in December 2016 to carry out a risk assessment & verification.

Ganesh Ram Jayaraman, Trident Pack’s Director says that the need of the hour for OEMs like Trident Pack is holistic support on machine safety, i.e. assessment, guidance, verification and certification by certified and experienced safety professionals.

Trident Pack liked tec.nicum’s risk assessment approach of understanding the needs and constraints on operability, process, costs, space constraints etc. and suggesting solutions in a participative way. Need of the hour, in a nutshell!!

About tec.nicum

The tec.nicum is the safety services division of the Schmersal Group and consists of qualified functional safety engineers who form a global consultancy network. The experts at tec.nicum advise machine manufacturers and operators on all questions of machine and industrial safety independently of products and manufacturers. They also plan and implement complex safety solutions in close cooperation with clients all over the world.

The tec.nicum service portfolio incorporates four segments:  tec.nicum academy (training courses), tec.nicum consulting (consultancy services),  tec.nicum engineering (technical planning), tec.nicum integration (execution and implementation). www.tecnicum.com

About the Schmersal Group

In the demanding field of machine safety the Schmersal Group is one of the international market and competence leaders. Based on more than 25,000 different switching devices, the company offers system solutions for the safety of man and machine. The company was founded in 1945 in Wuppertal, Germany,  and is represented by seven manufacturing sites on three continents and with its subsidiaries and sales partners in more than 60 countries. The Schmersal Group employs some 1750 people worldwide and generated a group turnover in 2016 of approx. € 215 million.  www.schmersal.com

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