What are the salient features of a safe machine tool nowadays?

5th February 2018
Source: METAV
Posted By : Anna Flockett
What are the salient features of a safe machine tool nowadays?

Regarded as some of the safest in the world, German machine tools nonetheless still face the issue of safety which remains a perennially topical one for R&D experts, and has for many years now been a significant focus for the VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association), Frankfurt/Main, and the Mainz-based Wood and Metal Employers’ Liability Insurance Association.

This is why on 20th February a specialists’ symposium on ‘Fire and Explosion Protection in Metal-Cutting Machine Tools’ will be held under the aegis of the METAV 2018. Here, experts will be presenting innovations in regard to safe machine tools.

Despite the trend towards digitalisation and networking, there will continue to be a man at the machine. For this reason, fire and explosion protection in machine tools remains an issue of long-term importance. Design engineers, purchasers and operators of these machines should accordingly refresh their knowledge from time to time.

Non-water-miscible cooling lubricants as a potential hazard
Fires at machine tools are often attributable to non-water-miscible cooling lubricants. If the degree of misting exhibited by this processing aid is high, then faults in the machining process (maladjusted cooling-lubricant feed, tool fracture, milling into solid material, etc.) will constitute a potential fire and explosion risk.

At the symposium, experts will, for example, be showing how the cooling lubricants can be influenced in order to reduce the propensity to misting. A new test rig will also be showcased, enabling the behaviour of safety features like pressure-relief dampers, flame arresters and door labyrinths to be checked in the event of danger. Not least, improvements in extinguishing systems will be on show, designed to meet the more stringent safety stipulations being demanded by the Employers’ Liability Insurance Association.

Light-metals also a significant focus
Potential hazards, however, are also entailed by the increasing frequency of machining operations for light-metals, like magnesium, titanium and aluminium. Depending on the particle size involved, these may likewise burn or explode. In order to avoid this, special safety precautions are required, which will be addressed in the second part of the symposium.

For example, an expert will be presenting the safety concept of the Wood and Metal Employers’ Liability Insurance Association for grinding aluminium. An extraction technology manufacturer will be showing not only filter systems and safety features for the extraction line, but also a new system that enables potentially explosive dusts to be reliably arrested.

Not least, there will be an opportunity at the end of the symposium for mutual feedback with the experts and for visiting the METAV.

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