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Machine Change

Machine Change

Machine Change

My boss wants me to write a program to change a pneumatic machine to one that uses a processor for running the process (a jelly depositor). I want to know what the legalities are and if I am liable for anyone getting hurt while running with this new processor? I have only had basic programing training and I am not an engineer, and have not been trained in any machine safety techniques. Is there a waiver that I can get that will exclude me from any and all prosecution from any injuries that may result from the new process?

Thanks for helping, g1956j.  

RE: Machine Change

I think this is kind of a hypothetical question. The hardware should be constructed in a safe way, as should be the software. If the hardware can be harmful, it should be either shielded (like a circle saw table, which has a saw cover) or you could even force the human actor in some position (like having two buttons to operate a machine to prevent him being able to stick one hand into the machine while operating it with the other hand).

That said, software and hardware are not independent. Especially not in machinery.

Probably your boss (or his boss) has "end responsibility", but that does not help your sense of ethics.

My first thought would be to talk to the designer of the machine or the builders of it. And just learn. Off course, you can always talk to your boss, explain your concern and ask for a course or other introduction to safety. Your company may even have a "Quality Assurance" department that knows where to find the legal safety requirements.

Good luck!

+++ Despite being wrong in every important aspect, that is a very good analogy +++
   Hex (in Darwin's Watch)

RE: Machine Change

There may also be some standards to which the machine needs to be designed and tested for safety purposes; UL for example.

I would look for any certification stickers on it which might point you to a responsible testing agency.  If there is one, it would give you peace of mind to have its operation independently verified as well as provide proof that safety considerations were taken seriously.


RE: Machine Change

Do you mean you want to automate a machine which is currently operated by a human being?

If this is the case, without the necessary experience of mechanics, electronics and processor programming - the task is not achievable.


RE: Machine Change

This is a machine that is is activated when a pan, (cookie sheet) trips a pneumatic limit switch, which then lower a head that deposits the toppings for our danish products, the head raises and the pan stop lowers and lets the pan go and then comes back up to stop the next pan.

Not a very complicated operation, but it is an all pneumatic machine. All my boss wants is to have it run with a PLC controlled pneumatic air bank. So instead of using air piloted valves he wants to have a PLC send an electric signal to an electric air valve bank to do the same thing. Don't ask me why!!!

I didn't say I couldn't do the job, I was just asking what the legalities would be, or what repercussions could bestow me if an incident occurred?

Or what I could do to exempt me from responsibility and make my boss the responsible party?

Thanks again for your replies, GJ

RE: Machine Change

It depends on the laws in your area.  An internet forum is not a good place to get legal advice.  Ethical advice, potentially.  Legal advice, not at all.

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