Productive safety, a vital concept for the care of people and processes.

Productive safety, a vital concept for the care of people and processes.

10 November 2016

As has been the trend in the mining and heavy industry, ensuring production safety is a responsibility that goes beyond the human factor. It is a commitment to strengthen the industry and its production processes.

This year, one of the main players in the national mining industry, CODELCO, released a decalogue detailing the main critical risks faced by mining and industrial production. The Decalogue describes the main problems faced by modern industry, which are mainly oriented to the care of people and to ensure the continuity of operations.

Within these risk concepts, there is the intervention of energized equipment and, better said, the exposure to high voltages of electrical energy and the possible consequences of an accident due to human intervention.

In their maintenance processes, the sites must energize the areas and equipment to be intervened. This is done in the electrical rooms by manipulating large switches called switchgear that control the flow of energy in medium voltage. In the operation of removing and replacing them, there is the probability of a high impact occurrence: The so-called “Arc Flash”, a sudden discharge that can reach a temperature of up to 3,500 degrees Celsius.

In the handling of these trolleys, every year hundreds of operators in the world suffer burns that are fatal or at least very disabling. The use of special PPE mitigates the extent of the damage but does not eliminate it.

For this problem, MIRS, a company focused on the development of robotic solutions, puts on the market a system that is consistent with the concept of ZERO HARM, by incorporating a hard barrier into the design, removing the person from the line of fire, eliminating exposure to electric arc, and also meets the international standard NFPA 70 E, and whose added value is to remove people from the risk of “electric arc”.

This solution, called SWITCHGEAR Robotic Manipulator (MRS), allows the removal and repositioning of the carts with the operator controlling the equipment from a safe distance with the help of cameras and programmed routines. Using joystick and cameras, the operator positions the manipulator in front of the cart to be removed, and the omnidirectional wheels allow for easy positioning. This switchgear trolley manipulator is designed by MIRS to face situations that usually become complex when an accident occurs, since, along with avoiding the damage to people as the main focus, it also provides collaboration in an increasingly relevant issue for modern industry, and that is to avoid at all costs the delay, delay or stoppage of the production process given the costs and problems that this implies.