Machine safety: What is ambient air temperature and the relationship to safe operation?

How can the ambient air temperature range from -30 to +120 degrees Fahrenheit inside a manufacturing plant? The product specs call for certification at -5 to +30 degrees Centigrade for safe operation. Do the international machine safety standards address this?

04/25/2013


How can the ambient air temperature range from -30 to +120 degrees Fahrenheit inside a manufacturing plant? The product specifications call for certification at -5 to +30 degrees Centigrade for safe operation. How do we accommodate an ambient air temperature range like that? Do the international machine safety standards address this issue?

You know what I say – welcome to the big league!

First of all, is there a common global definition and application for the word ambient air? Think about different locations around the world for manufacturing plants. Phoenix, Arizona? Puebla, Mexico? Xilin, China? Belo Horizonte, Brazil? Riyadh, Saudi Arabia? Innsbruch, Austria? Rotterdam, Netherlands? Is there anything common about ambient air in all of these locations?

 

I’ve been to a manufacturer in Xilin, China. The large plant had big wide doors that were open all year long. The ambient air (in my definition) was 18 degrees Fahrenheit while I stood by a CNC controlled machine with color graphic HMI operator panels. I was told that the ambient air in July and August often exceeded 120 degrees Fahrenheit. There was no heat and there was no air conditioning in the facility.

 

So, when a machine safety standard talks about an ambient air temperature requirement for safe operation of a machine safety control element – what does that mean? Is the ambient air temperature of concern that air which is inside of the small cabinet/box containing the safety control element? Or, is it the ambient air temperature around a machine outside of the small cabinet or box? Or, if the small cabinet or box is mounted inside of a large control cabinet is it the ambient air temperature inside of the large control cabinet? How are these questions about ambient air temperature to be interpreted and understood consistently by different languages and cultures in multiple countries? What was intended by the manufacturer of the machine safety control element?

 

In my opinion, having participated in several discussions around the world on this subject, decision makers really need to fully understand the product, application, and the conditions where the application will ultimately reside to determine the ambient air temperature issue. Having said that, ultimately an interpretation of the requirement stated in the international standard will have to be made. This could mean the addition of some capability to treat or control a defined ambient air temperature to meet the requirements for safe operation.

 

J.B. Titus, CFSE

Has this presented you with any new perspectives? Add your comments, thoughts or advice to the discussion by submitting your ideas, experiences, and challenges in the comments section below.

 

Related articles:

NFPA 79: Electrical Standard for Industrial Machinery, 2012 Annotated PDF Edition

IEC 62061 Safety of machinery - Functional safety of safety-related electrical, electronic and programmable electronic control systems

IEC 60204-1 Safety of machinery - Electrical equipment of machines - Part 1: General requirements

Contact: http://www.jbtitus.com for “Solutions for Machine Safety”.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Leaders Under 40 program features outstanding young people who are making a difference in manufacturing. View the 2013 Leaders here.
The new control room: It's got all the bells and whistles - and alarms, too; Remote maintenance; Specifying VFDs
2014 forecast issue: To serve and to manufacture - Veterans will bring skill and discipline to the plant floor if we can find a way to get them there.
2013 Top Plant: Lincoln Electric Company, Cleveland, Ohio
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Bring focus to PLC programming: 5 things to avoid in putting your system together; Managing the DCS upgrade; PLM upgrade: a step-by-step approach
Balancing the bagging triangle; PID tuning improves process efficiency; Standardizing control room HMIs
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.