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Plastic profile production line

Safety Tips When Operating the Plastic Profile Production Line

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Introduction

The plastic profile production line is a unit that almost looks innocent but in actual sense, it is just as dangerous as any other machine. It is imperative for any production machine operator to take the necessary countermeasures that will mitigate any work-related injuries. However, most workers tend to be ignorant or they are not just well informed. It is from ignorance and lack of information that such plastic profile production line operators get caught in electrical, chemical, or fire accidents. The sole purpose of this article is to demystify the potential dangers that come with operating a plastic profile extrusion machine and how to avoid them. 

PVC EDGE BANDING MACHINE

Potential Hazards from the Plastic Profile Production Line

Here are potential health hazards that machine operators might encounter while working the plastic profile production line:

Noise

The extrusion process can be very noisy. With all the moving parts and a sophisticated production process, it is kind of difficult to mute the machine. The thing with extreme machine noise is that it increases the chances of permanent ear damage, which could render any machine operator useless. It could also trigger other hearing impairments. Thus, the best countermeasure for the hazard is to equip machine operators with proper ear protection gear.

Electricity

Electricity is an integral variable when it comes to running the plastic extrusion machine. However, the same electricity could be a major hazard if not connected appropriately. That could happen if the wiring is faulty or when there is a water leak in the machinery. High power cabinets should be approached with caution. This is because they tend to experience a buildup in static electricity which could then turn out to be disastrous if unchecked. The best way to solve the problem is to always work with proficient electricians who will install the connection perfectly and mitigate the hazard. Other than that, it is imperative to regularly check wires for wear and replace them when necessary. You should also be on the lookout for water and apply the necessary countermeasure. Apart from that, it is advisable to work with the right workboats preferably with non-grounding shoes. Such footwear will protect you in the event of an electricity-related accident.

Loose-fitting clothing

As much as the plastic extruder looks mostly innocent and harmless, it can be quite lethal in some unfortunate incidences. This is especially true if you happen to operate the machine with loose-fitting clothing. Things like neckties or belts could get lodged in the moving parts of the extruder. The outcome of such an occurrence can be catastrophic considering how fast and powerful the extrusion unit is. With regard to that, it is advisable to equip the extrusion line workers with the right clothing. You also need to train them adequately on how to approach and operate the machine safely.

Toxic substances

A lot of chemicals are used in the course of plastic extrusion. Similarly, the same chemicals and special compounds like purging agents are utilized in cleaning the extrusion machine. Unfortunately, some of the chemicals and compounds can be harmful when they get in contact with the skin. Still, when plastic pellets come under extreme heat, they degrade to form compounds that are toxic when inhaled. That is why it is not prudent to stand next to the die opening. Apart from staying at least six feet away from the die opening, it is advisable to wear masks, hand gloves, anti-corrosion boots, and other protective gear when operating the extrusion line.

Obstacles and slippery floors

The production warehouse is characterized by a myriad of activities. Regardless of how careful you may be, the risk of slipping or tripping and falling is very much alive. Yet, you never know where you may land after the fall. Remember, there are toxic chemicals, a machine running at top speed, and electricity within the vicinity. Therefore, you should take every precaution to avoid slipping or falling. To begin with, you need to keep the floor dry at all times. Major causes of slipperiness are oil leaks, water drips, and pellets. You can use detergent-infused water or special solvents to clear away oil and petroleum. They must be cleared before production commences. Otherwise, the workers should be equipped with cleated shoes with non-slip soles. Most important, everything must be arranged in an orderly manner to curb such accidents.

Heat

The outer surface of the extruder is always hot since heating is a central part of the extrusion process. For instance, the die operates at about 350-600F. As a consequence, touching hot extruder surfaces without the right protection gear would be a controversial decision. To avoid making such a catastrophic mistake, it would be wise to train your staff adequately and let them know about parts of the extruder that are likely to inflict burns. Insulating gloves could likely help machine operators to avoid heat-related accidents. In addition to that, you might have to equip the warehouse with burn remedies in case anything goes south.

Speed

It is always recommended to run the extrusion line within the right speed limit at any given time. Some extrusion line owners might be tempted to run the machine at a faster rate in a bid to increase productivity or meet certain deadlines. As much as it seems doable, extreme speed exerts unnecessary pressure on moving components such as motors, cutters, winders, and pullers. Failure to respect their speed requirements could result in accelerated wear. With accelerated wear, it becomes impossible to keep tabs on the working order or different components. In this manner, you never know when a work component could snap and run haywire causing unprecedented damage or injury. Other than that, unnecessary rush could also limit dimension precision leading to poor product quality. Apart from the moving components, fast-moving wires, and high tension chords present another potential for danger. That is true for anyone with loose-fitting clothes, untucked shirts, or neckties. The best way to keep the hazard at bay is to install guard rails on dangerous spots of the extruder.

Molten plastic

The ideal temperature at which plastics become molten is about 200 degrees Celsius. Working with plastics that are that hot requires absolute protection. Apart from that, plastic has to be forced into the die for a complete extrusion process. That is what happens under very high pressure. Therefore, it is likely that jets of hot melted plastics could squirt or leak from the spaces between the die and auger. The same can happen during servicing when unblocking melt plastic channels.

Feeding material into the hopper

Pouring granules and other raw materials into the hopper comes with a significant amount of risk. To begin with, the hands of the employee will be exposed to extreme heat and toxic chemicals along with sharp or rotating machine parts. That could lead to life-threatening cuts if anything goes wrong. Apart from that, the worker will also be exposed to loud machine noise. Finally, feeding materials into the hopper implies that the worker’s eyes are in the line of danger. The ultimate solution for such a scenario is to incorporate proper safety gear. There should working gloves for the hands and goggles for the eyes among other protective features for the ears and the entire body.

Heavy lifting

Heavy lifting is a serious hazard that could render an employee disabled if not done correctly. It can lead to strain injury that is not good for the back and posture. Lifting is mostly down when feeding raw materials into the hopper. The best alternative is to replace manual labor with forklifts and other machinery that are more efficient but less injurious. You can also adopt a vacuum feeder that will feed granules into the extruder’s hopper with minimal human assistance. Heavy lifting does not apply to raw materials alone. The extrusion die and other components of the production line often need to be moved around and they are super bulky. Moving them around manually can be a daunting task, which can be injurious to the executor. To move them around conveniently, it is prudent to utilize carts and hoists.

Pressure

Pressure is one of those essential attributes required for the functionality of an extrusion machine. Yet, the same pressure can be a life-threatening hazard if it happens to leak out of the production unit. If the plastic melt or hot water was to jet out of the extruder because of a leak in melt transfer tubes, the outcome could be tragic. For this reason, you need to operate the machine under proper pressure calibrations. The ideal extrusion line ought to incorporate functional pressure gauges as well as an alarm that can accurately tell when things are not in order. Likewise, ensure that the melt transfer tubes are sufficiently insulated to reduce the risk of separation or breakage. In the same manner, train machine operators to keep off the die opening.  

Fire

Although cases of fire are very rare, they can be very damaging. In most unfortunate events, the fire is usually triggered by external factors as well as by the extrusion unit itself. As much as a huge chunk of plastics is flammable, they are not actually explosive. Nonetheless, plastic powders and pellets may be explosive. When a melt leak from the extruder head ignites in the air spontaneously it could explode into a life-threatening flame.  The best way to counteract the problem is by utilizing a proper cooling system. Luckily, FANLYPLAS does not when it comes to making standard plastic extrusion lines. Our plastic production machines come with fully functional coolers that will automatically turn on when the temperature crosses the set limit. That is why any competing plastic extrusion warehouse ought to be equipped with a fire extinguisher. Any potential fire triggers should be kept away or they must be treated with extra caution. Apart from that, the workshop must have a fire alarm to notify everyone in the event a fire breaks out.

Stress

Recent studies indicate that about 60-80 percent of work-related accidents are the outcome of stress-based problems such as distractions. Well, stress is known to cause a loss of attention, which could, in turn, lead to injury and accidents during the extrusion process. In the extrusion scenario, stress can be blamed on infrequent breaks along with unreasonable production demands. In this manner, machine operators and other workers have to stretch beyond their limits making them susceptible to stress. Other forms of stressors include the fear of getting laid off and extreme workloads. Finally, inattention and fatigue can potentially cause a lack of focus that is dangerous while operating the extrusion line. Therefore, workers should be given frequent breaks alongside flexible working hours to avoid putting undue pressure on their mental well-being.

Height

The height of the extrusion line can be a hazard in a way too. Most extrusion machines include blown films that are relatively high or they run upward. In some cases, loose objects and tools may be left atop the high surfaces. If any of the loose objects or tools happen to drop from high surfaces onto the machinery or someone’s leg, the outcome could be bad.

edge banding machine

Safety Advantages of Our Plastic Profile Production Line

FANLYPLAS has committed to manufacturing plastic profile production lines with the highest safety measures. We understand that operating an extrusion line comes with a significant level of risk given the potential hazards highlighted above. Nevertheless, we have built our plastic profile production machines with your safety needs at heart to curb any danger that they might pose to your well being:

Automated Operation

Our production lines feature a revolutionary design that allows you to start and stop the extrusion line with a single button. Essentially, the unit takes up all the dangerous and hard work. Automated operation limits the human-machine interaction which is responsible for most production-related injuries or accidents. Unlike machines that only depend on electricity to function, human productivity is dependent on numerous other variables. Stress, boredom, and exhaustion can cause them to let down their guard when running sensitive operations. That is why our production units are created to tackle most of the production operations automatically. Another big advantage of automated interaction is the reduction of human labor. There will be fewer people interacting with the machine as the unit will be performing a huge chunk of repetitive manual tasks.

Integrated guardrails

Integrated guardrails are a protective feature that is meant to keep machine operators safe if anything dangerous flies out of the extrusion equipment. Every machine is susceptible to wear and tear regardless of regular maintenance. At times, the wear can go on unnoticed and then suddenly come out of the machine during production. Of course, this can be quite dangerous. Yet this does not just apply to worn-out parts. Any component of the machine could come off owing to the vigorous vibration of the unit. However, that should not be a problem with our production equipment.

Reduced Noise Output

Sadly, a huge chunk of manufacturing machines tends to produce a lot of noise. Too much noise results in noise pollution which is detrimental to the hearing capabilities of machine operators. Keep in mind that excessive noise can lead to hearing damage. In worst cases, hearing damage can be irreversible. Apart from hearing damage, loud machine noise could trigger unhealthy stress levels and other hearing limitations line tinnitus. As much as it is impossible to eliminate the noise entirely, our machines are engineered to run a lot more quietly. The feeders and extruders emit sound at a lower decibel standard thus guaranteeing reduced pollution. 

Less Manual Cutting and Handling

When people have to interact with the machine every time, the likelihood of incurring an injury goes high. One of the major causes of injury and accidents is when workers have to manually cut or handle plastic profiles. The cutting machine itself comes with sharp saws that can be unforgiving in the event of unintended human error. Feeding raw materials into the hopper is another tricky task that demands extra keenness. A split-second mistake could turn into an unfortunate life-threatening injury. On the bright side, our production lines are equipped with vacuum feeders which feed material into the hopper fast and efficiently.

Clearly labeled control panels

It is from the control panels that machine operators can learn if the production machine is in a good working condition. The control panels usually indicate the operating temperature, pressure, production speed, and other vital parameters. It is from such parameters that you can know whether the unit is faulty or not. In the same way, the control panels will help you to understand when to repair or maintain the machine and avoid unprecedented shortcomings.

Safety Tips for Operating an Extrusion Line

Purge rather instead of manual cleaning

Unlike other extrusion line cleaning methods, purging does not require you to disassemble the machine for the purposes of cleaning. Instead, you only utilize a purging compound that handles all the cleaning. In this manner, your employees will not be exposed to toxic chemicals as would be the case with traditional cleaning methods. Remember, disassembling the equipment means exposure to chemical resins, hot surfaces, and sharp extruder parts.

Avoid the die opening

Plastics degrade to produce toxic gases which if inhaled could have a detrimental effect on the victim. The gases are often emitted through the die opening. Other than that, the die itself operates under high pressure. Thus, the chances of hot plastic melt leaking or spurting out of the die at high velocity are quite high.

Train machine operators adequately

Machine operation safety is enhanced through training. If you choose to purchase your plastic profile production line from FANLYPLAS, we will send over a technician to take your workforce through the proper and safe procedure of operating the machine. Machine operators ought to learn the safety measure involved in running the plastic-making equipment. They should know the areas to avoid or approach with care such as the die opening. Apart from that, the worker should be familiar with alarm features or panic buttons on the extrusion line and within the warehouse. That should enable them to beckon for help in the event of anything.

Incorporate the right safety gear

Personal protective gear is the first line of defense against any hazards that come up during the extrusion process. The machine might give a very innocent impression but it can be very deadly if not treated with the level of caution it deserves. Therefore, every machine operator ought to be equipped with the necessary protective gear at all times. That includes helmets, glasses, safety shoes, and gloves.

Purchase extrusion lines with proper safety features

You seriously need to source an extrusion line that is crafted with the needs of your workers at heart. The machine should incorporate a reliable panic button or alarm that unfortunate accident victims can use to call for help. Other than that, the production line ought to encompass clear and relevant warning signs about pressure, heat, and other crucial information. FANLYPLAS is the go-to manufacturer if you are looking for a plastic production unit with top-notch safety features.

Install safety features in the warehouse

Other than the extrusion line, the extrusion workplace should have its own safety features. At the top of the list of safety features are fire extinguishers that will quickly take care of any fire incidents. In addition to that, the warehouse needs a fully equipped first aid kit that could take care of minor injuries. Finally, the workplace needs fire alarms and smoke detectors.

Start and stop the machine cautiously

The procedure involving how to stop and start the extrusion line should incorporate in the training exercise. Of course, the machine operator needs to put on full personal protective gear before starting the machine. Along with that, the operators should not stand in the machine’s front during the starting process. It is risky because the machine could still have trapped hot air and toxic gases that are expelled during the start-up procedure.

Maintain the machine regularly

By regularly lubricating and maintaining the extrusion machine, it is easy to take note of the components that are worn out or broken. Replacing such parts reduces the chances of worn-out components snapping off suddenly and causing an accident. In the same fashion, washing the machine eliminates any resins or plastics that decompose to produce corrosive compounds or gases.

FAQs About Operating the Plastic Profile Production Line Safely

Why is safety important in extrusion?

There are over 2000 reported cases of work-related accidents in the plastics industry every year. That means that every safety precaution must be taken for the sake of the workers’ well-being. Basically, operating the extrusion line and similar machinery comes with a substantial amount of risk. It involves a wide range of health hazards including noise, heat, and chemicals among others.

What safety gear do you need to operate the extrusion machine?

Operating the plastic production machine involves coming into contact with toxic chemicals, hot surfaces, and sharp edges. Handling such injurious elements without proper gear is not a good thing. That is why machine operators and other workers dealing with the extruder must be equipped with proper gear and personal protection equipment. That includes insulated gloves to handle hot surfaces and molten plastic along with glasses for their eyes. Moreover, they need safety shoes with non-slip soles together with helmets to secure their heads.

Twin screw extruder

Conclusion

There you have it! Taking care of the safety of your workers and plastic profile production line operators guarantees a smooth and constant manufacturing process. Other than installing proper alarm features, buying a quality extrusion machine, and providing the right safety gear, it is crucial to train your workers and allow frequent breaks to mitigate work-related stress.

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