Safety Upgrades for Reconfigured Bottling Line

Safety Upgrades for Reconfigured Bottling Line

Today’s modern high-speed beverage bottling lines are made of collections of intricate machinery operating in harmony to take beverage raw materials through to fill, sterilize, bottle, and package in a matter of mere minutes. Manufacturers rely on their performance to allow them to fulfill retail contracts continually and just in time. They also expect these complex systems to work harmoniously and safely with their plant personnel.

In many cases, these lines are purchased turnkey from OEMs, but often portions of these lines are integrated with existing machinery.  Elements of formerly turnkey lines are frequently reused in new configurations as lines are adapted to meet new packaging requirements. 

Many companies are implementing higher standards for all documentation with safety-related systems falling into the highest order of importance.  Turnkey lines are regularly delivered with an OEM’s standard documentation, but this information can fall short of an end customer’s requirements for functional description, maintenance requirements, and safety procedures.  In cases where equipment is integrated with existing cells upon delivery, this information can be inaccurate or incomplete from a full-line perspective.  If line equipment is re-configured later, the original documentation may become obsolete.  Manufacturers are left with systems that may function as desired both normally and in emergency situations but often this is not the case. 

Enter Pacific Blue Engineering.  Pacific Blue Engineering employs certified Functional Safety Engineers who can work with end clients to develop both overarching and project-specific safety requirements.  Functioning as the liaison between their clients and OEMs, they frequently review or develop functional safety descriptions, OEM risk assessments, and calculation of safety Performance Level. Any missing or insufficient information can be developed by Pacific Blue Engineering’s staff.  The ultimate mission is to ensure zero accidents or near misses for plant personnel on new or existing beverage equipment.

These services were recently purchased by a major Florida-based bottling company to review a reconfigured bottling line.  This client has developed an entire battery of Machine Safety requirements based on international safety standards for equipment and lines such as ISO, ANSI, OSHA, NFPA, and more. The proper application of these standards can be daunting but that does not diminish the importance, thus, Pacific Blue Engineering performed the work as required to ensure that the entire line’s safety systems performed to specification(s). 

As is standard for Pacific Blue Engineering, this began with the machine risk assessment and development of the machine safety specification.  They defined all hazards based upon the tasks that the client’s operators and maintenance personnel perform and then defined proper mitigation measures for each scenario.  Next, they reviewed all existing documentation and coupled that with a thorough onsite review of the line equipment.  From this data collection, they developed full safety testing procedures and then performed full validation of the safety systems’ performance.  Every operating scenario was detailed and the corresponding safety switches and/or circuits were methodically tested.  Finally, detailed documentation was provided as evidence that the line operates exactly as expected from a safety standpoint.  The client was left not only with one-time information but with a detailed roadmap of how they can perform future tests, either as part of general SOP or after future changes to line equipment.

This client benefitted from a complete machine safety and safety controls suite of services from Pacific Blue Engineering.  Many other food and beverage clients will need a different array of services based on the vintage of plant equipment, their specific safety requirements as configured, and whether equipment has been altered. Pacific Blue Engineering is ready for each client to use any or all their services to ensure that manufacturers can effectively protect their people, their production, and their equipment.   

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