Ergonomic Design for Food Packaging Machines: Safety for Operators
Ergonomic design principles help us manufacture food packaging machines that are safe for operators, making their work easier and optimising processes
Safety is, of course, the first factor to be taken into account and it must be ensured for the entire life cycle of the machine, as provided for in relevant EU Directives (and particularly in Directive 2006/42/EC).
As we discussed in a previous post, safety must be ensured during transport and installation of packaging machines, but also during all operations and human machine interactions.
In line with Galdi's continuous improvement philosophy, the analyses we perform on the ergonomic characteristics of our machines are becoming increasingly more accurate. To this end, we examine specific operations performed by operators, focusing on solutions that ensure greater safety and reduce process times.
Following are three areas of action which have recently led to the development of new solutions.
FOOD PACKAGING MACHINE MANUAL CLEANING
Since Galdi food and beverage fillers are manufactured according to Hygienic Design principles, surfaces and materials are designed to guarantee better hygienic performance.
With the goal of making the work of operators easier and ensuring the filler's fast and thorough cleaning, manually cleaned areas must also meet specific requirements, namely:
- be easily accessible
- make inspection easier
- allow for thorough cleaning
- be free of unnecessary components that could hinder operations
Our machines' "see-through design" and internal layout concept - evident from a simple inspection - represent some of Galdi's most distinctive features, making our fillers stand out from competitors.
Take, for example, the mandrel carousel in our RG270: easily accessible and designed with curved surfaces, it guarantees better hygiene and cleaning standards.
CARTON MAGAZINE LOADING
We have recently analysed the entire carton magazine loading process in our packaging machines.
Though falling outside our competence, we started with the arrival of packaging material stacked on pallets to provide our customers with a procedure for performing each operation in total safety.
Research data enabled us to come up with a more accurate ergonomic design for the carton magazine in our packaging machines.
For instance, we added a practical supporting surface so that operators can lay and unwrap preformed cartons in a safe and efficient way. The height of the support was calculated on the basis of the world average height to make loading activities easier for all operators.
Besides safety, and in line with Ergonomic Design principles, new solutions are all geared to minimising movements performed by operators. Even a simple wrist rotation, repeated a number of times or performed in unsuitable conditions, may have an impact on the health of operators.
USABILITY AND HMI
Also thanks to the work done by our Machine Intelligence team, we are further reducing the number of necessary actions for our filling machines to work properly.
Efforts in this direction started with our RG270 model. Our designers configured the HMI (“Human Machine Interface”) striving for utmost simplicity: they reduced the number of pages shown on the panel, displaying only information that is useful to operators.
The panel view has tree simple buttons:
In the future, Production and Cleaning pages (which make up about 80% of operations performed via panel) will be further streamlined and run through a wizard, which will guide operators to the most appropriate procedures.
Once again, aiming at making things as simple as possible, we separated the Maintenance page from the rest, customising it to meet the needs of maintenance technicians.
The Ergonomic Design philosophy is closely linked to the principles of Design for Maintenance. In fact, we also carried out an in-depth analysis for maintenance technicians, in order to guarantee safer and faster services.