Milling, Machining, and Automation Accident Reconstruction
Forensic Analysis of Automation, Machining, and Prototyping Equipment
Equipment used in production and prototyping machine shops commonly consists of mills and lathes; two machines that create parts through “material removal”, or machining. These parts are used in the manufacture of many automotive components, aircraft parts, aerospace components, and medical devices. Machining equipment is large and powerful, and generally consists of a spinning component that “cuts” metal, polymers, composites, and other materials at a rapid rate. In the simplest sense, these machines allow rapid production of parts for many different industries. Personnel hazards related to the operation of these machines are usually related to the rate at which an unguarded spindle or headstock is rotating within the vicinity of a machine operator.
Milling, Turning, and Machining Equipment Accident Reconstruction
In a production environment, milling machines and turning machines, or lathes, cut material at a rapid rate with amazing accuracy due to their powerful electrical motors and active cooling methods. Many parts are made from engineering designs using CNC, or computer numerical control, machining methods that rely on a computer to regulate the cutter path and material removal rate. Parts made with CNC machining are virtually everywhere and used in virtually every industry. Veritech's machining expert has direct hands-on experience as a machinist, machine operator, and parts inspector within his role as a product development engineer for a laboratory and life science robotics company.
With this experience, Veritech's expert is aware of the dangers that these machines can pose to operators and machinists alike. During operation, it can be easy for an operator to become complacent around these machines due to their relatively quiet and controlled operation. However, exceptional care must be exercised when working in a production environment.
Robotics and Automation
The usage of robotics to aid in manufacturing and other material handling environments is increasing in today's modern workplace. Injuries in the workplace due to repetitive motion and over-exertion are common among many workers today. Additionally, pressures on throughput and accuracy can push employees to their limits. Because of this, automation and robots have become commonplace as helper components within a production environment. Workplace personnel are increasingly within the operating proximity of automated machinery, requiring that the equipment be designed with safety in mind. “Collaborative Robotics” are designed such that they can be operated safely within the direct vicinity of human operators. This means that these robots operate under a set speed limit for robot movement, contain components of active guarding, and are designed in a way such to eliminate pinch points, crush points, and sharp edges.
Veritech has direct design and operation experience with robotics and automation as used in a collaborative environment. The Robotics Indistry Assocaition (RIA), in addition to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the International Standards Organization (ISO), have developed standards outlining operation and safety criteria for collaborative robotic automation. ANSI/RIA Standard R15 and ISO 10218 outline safety requirements for such automation and robotics, including active guarding and safety measures built into the engineering design of the robotics. There is an evident balance between operational speed and accuracy and establishing a safe operational environment, and new standards are helping guide the robotics industry to optimize this balance.
Veritech's automation expert has experience in designing to meet RIA and ANSI standards and has the working knowledge to assess automation accidents when safety criteria is not followed properly. Machining, automation, and robotics accidents are complicated issues that require specialized experience. Please contact us today to discuss your case further.
Please contact Veritech's milling, machining, and automation expert, Joe Tremblay, P.E., D.F.E. at 303-660-4395 to discuss your case and receive a free initial consultation with honest and candid comments.