T Slot Aluminum – The Advantages for Your Hard Guarding Project
Some of the most important equipment in any factory is the hard guarding. This provides a physical barrier that protects workers from injuries caused by pinch points, sharp edges, and flying debris. Hard guards can be fabricated by welding and other means, but T slot aluminum offers clear advantages. Here’s what you should know.
Why You Can’t Cut Corners With Guarding
Any piece of equipment that poses a hazard should be guarded. This isn’t just about avoiding OSHA citations, (guarding violations consistently makes their Top ten list of citations,) but because it’s the right thing to do.
Industrial operations are filled with moving machinery that has countless potential pinch points to trap and hurt the unwary. They can even cause amputations. The best way to keep fingers, hair and loose clothing out is with a physical barrier.
The same applies to the flying debris that some operations generate. (Milling, routing and turning are prime offenders.) Plus, where material handling equipment like robots and gantries move at high speed, there’s a risk of the workpiece or part of the tooling coming free and flying some distance.
Again, the answer is hard guarding, preferably with solid, impact-resistant panels rather than wire mesh.
Guarding is Complicated
If all that was needed was a physical barrier, guarding would be easy: just put up rigid panels everywhere. The problem is though, people need to reach in to the machinery for setup and maintenance. This means guarding must be mobile, so it needs hinges and handles, plus bolts and locks to prevent unauthorized access.
Why T Slot Aluminum is the Answer
One approach to making hard guarding is to cut, bend and weld steel sections and filler panels. Then the assembled pieces are painted or powder-coated for corrosion protection before being drilled to take hinges, locks and so on.
Here’s what’s wrong with making guards this way:
- Slow – the fabrication takes time, more so if parts go outside for coating, and that could leave a machine stopped
- Difficult to rework – if the guard doesn’t quite fit or needs changing for some reason, that’s going to be expensive and will take time
- Inflexible – if the machinery being guarded changes, as often happens, new guards will be needed
- Unattractive, especially after some time – yes, it’s a factory, but many manufacturers care about how their factories look, and rusty, chipped guards suggest a lack of pride in the processes and equipment.
T Slot aluminum is just a better method. Here’s why:
- Receive a kit of parts that goes together quickly and easily
- Easy to reconfigure as needed – to improve maintenance access, for example
- Minimize equipment downtime while making changes
- Swap out fillers quickly – with ‘Clamp Profile’ extrusion it’s easy to swap mesh for solid or clear fillers, and you can be confident they’ll hold tight, permanently
- Creates a modern, high-tech appearance and won’t chip, scratch or rust
Fast Service, Professional Support
IPS stocks t slot aluminum extrusion in a wide range of profiles. Plus, we can supply all the other parts needed to make your hard guarding work, from hinges and handles to locks. With our no-cost engineering service we’ll take care of detail design. Tell us what you want and we’ll produce a design and a parts list. Then we’ll prepare a kit containing everything you need and ship it to you.
Best of all, if at some point you need to change your guarding, it’s easy. Tell us what’s required and we’ll cut and ship the replacement pieces. Contact us to learn more.