Safety integration is key to drying kilns
Vast masses are moved in drying kiln carts. The loads can 6-metres high at their highest and their size alone poses potential safety risks. This calls for extremely thorough, comprehensive safety measures, drying kiln safety integration. Also heavy doors, rotating axles and various equipment need to be considered in safety integration.
Besides loads and doors, the heat and humidity in the kilning process make it a hazardous place for people: temperatures of 80C, high humidity and the ethereal substances from the lumber make the conditions unsuitable for people. People’s movement is highly restricted in fully-automated drying kilns – except in breakdowns and maintenance work.
All in all, there are many types of hazards. In this blog, I’ve compiled a list of some of the areas that are taken into account in drying kiln safety integration at Heinola.
1. Light curtains in the loading and unloading area: Truck-operated drying kilns have safety light curtains in input and unloading areas. Passing through light curtains stops the load immediately and so makes it impossible for a person to even accidently access the same space as a moving load.
2. Safety fences and safety gates on the conveyor belt tracks: drying kiln units can be safety integrated by using safety fences and safety gates to separate them from each other. Opening the door at the latest makes the space you are entering safe. Traffic light type signals are also used in conjunction with the doors. When the light is on, it is not recommended entering the area unless there is an acute need. Not entering the area at the wrong moment, for example when loads are being changed, also saves energy.
3. Safety restrictions in the immediate space of the drying kiln, the service hatches and loft: There are numerous areas inside the kiln that have safety restrictions. What is important in all areas is that activating the door or hatch makes the area a safe place to walk through.
4. Two-fold secured lifting doors: The lifting doors are sturdy and weigh thousands of kilos and their cables have a safety feature so that if the cable breaks for some reason, spring-loaded safety catches bite into the door frames. These prevent the door from falling even if the cable snaps. The lifting door is operated by two separate motors, both with their own frequency converter. In addition, the motors have brakes.
Safety integration in the above areas has been implemented in control automation with safety locking and process control logic.
The drying kiln business is become increasingly fully automated, which also contributes to greater safety. Nevertheless, the human role will not entirely disappear and so safety integration will still be needed going forward. We are constantly developing our drying kilns with the safety aspect in mind.
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Jan Räsänen appointed Managing Director of Heinola Sawmill Machinery Inc. – Kari Kiiskinen continues on the Board of Directors
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