The Ohio Safety Intervention Grant is available to companies purchasing their workers compensation insurance through the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. As the Bureau states:
“This program is available to all Ohio state-fund, private and public taxing district employers to purchase equipment to eliminate or reduce workplace hazards. Private and public employers are eligible for a 3-to-1 matching grant, up to a maximum grant award of $40,000 for each eligibility cycle. This means BWC gives $3 for every $1 the employer contributes.”
Several Ohio plant tool room technicians asked us to help with answering Section IV of the Grant Application. Obviously, we can’t answer for you but below is the way that one Ohio plant said it intended to answer the questions of Section IV:
1. Please identify the item(s) below.
Mold Separators and Tippers using hydraulics or ball screws for platen movement and magnets for automatically “attaching” molds to the platens.
2. Describe the equipment to be purchased as an intervention.
Die-Sep is a Mold Separator and Tipper to be used to separate the halves, or in the case of stack molds, the sections of a mold. Die-Seps use magnets to hold on to or “mount” each half of a mold to the Die-Sep platens (wall of the repair bay). Hydraulics or ball screws are then used to push or pull the mold or mold sections on the floor of the repair bay as well as tip the mold or mold sections, as needed. The equipment will eliminate a majority of the manual labor of tool room technicians when working with heavy metal molds. The work performed by the separator and tipper will substantially reduced risk of injury, worker fatigue, and repetitive motion ailments.
3. Describe how the intervention works.
See video at: https://vimeo.com/259858234 Die-Sep website: diesep.com Magazine article of mold separator and tipper in injection molding tool room: https://www.moldmakingtechnology.com/articles/toolroom-systems-boost-safety-productivity. Depending of the size of the mold, tool rooms currently lower the mold to a table with a steel top or onto flat strips of steel. A technician(s) will then place a pry bar into the parting line, the divide between the parts of the mold where the molded part is formed, and attempt to pry the two sections apart. In the case of smaller molds, such as molds weighing up to 3,000 pounds, this can be a strenuous, but an achievable endeavor. For larger molds which can weight many tons, this might take two or more people with much larger pry bars. These activities involve possible damage to the mold and the probability of either an accident or cumulative injury damage to the person prying on the mold. Most individuals performing these types of actions find that they have difficulty performing these tasks by the time they are around forty five years old. It is not uncommon for this activity to cause an immediate strain or muscle pull. In the event when a large pry bar slips out of place, the technician might fall or lose his (her) balance and run into something in the tool room causing any degree of injury (or death).
Another method of opening a mold is to flip a mold onto its’ back, attach eyebolts or swivel hoist rings to the section of the mold now on the top and attempt to lift that half off of the lower section of the mold. When all works as planned, this is a much safer method than the prying method in section “a”. The problem comes in when the sections do not separate in near perfect parallel. In this case, the mold “cocks” and the leader pins and bushings, which normally align the mold, get jammed. Because of the extreme weights involved, this jam can be so extreme that tools such as bigger pry bars or hydraulic or house jacks might need to be used. These implements might present greater danger of injury to technicians or cause damage to be done to the mold.
4. Describe how the employees will be trained to use the equipment.
Die-Sep Mold Separators and Tippers are simple machines which most tool room personnel can operate instinctively since the operation involves a moving platen and a stationary platen, much the same a most production presses in injection molding plants. However, an Operator’s Manual is provided with each mold separator. (Name of Company applying for grant)will perform safe use operating instruction review with each employee utilizing the Die-Sep Mold Separators and Tippers Operator’s Manual.
5. Does the proposed intervention create any additional risks/hazards?
No, the Die-Sep does not create any additional hazards. The Die-Sep will mitigate the inherent hazards currently associated with the opening, tipping and closing of molds.
1. Describe how the intervention will eliminate or substantially reduce the exposure of employees to hazards compared to the current situation/conditions described in Section 3.
1. Tool room injuries having to do with the opening, tipping and or closing of molds, whether cumulative or through an accident, occur in a number of different instances:
- Prying open using pry bars or other implements,
- Closing the mold through the force of hitting the mold with mallets or other implements,
- Tipping the mold or mold section up or down.
- Lifting one half of the mold off of the other to separate the mold with the inherent risks of swinging weights.
- Removing, replacing or otherwise changing mold parts such as plates, inserts or cores.
Die-Seps handle the above situations quickly and safely since the hydraulics replace the manual brute force needed to accomplish the tasks in “1, 2,3, and 4” above. For the replacement tasks, etc. in “5”, the technician is afforded the opportunity of positioning the mold or mold half with the parting line in either the horizontal or vertical position. The technician will determine the safest method for the task at hand.
2. Describe how the intervention will eliminate or substantially reduce the risk of injury.
One of the main causes of accidents and injuries in injection molding tool rooms is operator error resulting from the utter frustration and difficulties of opening and closing molds when the mold halves stick or jam. The delays cause by molds being jammed can result in minutes, hours and in rare instances days being lost trying to free the jam. Since Die-Sep virtually eliminates the jam, the ensuing frustration is also eliminated.
3. Will the intervention cause productivity to increase, decrease, or stay the same?Provide estimates for how much it will change.
Productivity will increase in a number of ways:
- The ease with which a mold is opened, tipped and closed saves not only time, but also allows the technician to work all day long without the fatigue that results from opening the mold by hand and reduces his risk of injury. The time saved allows the technician more time to perform the skilled tasks of problem solving as well as the other mechanical tasks of maintenance.
- Better working conditions save time and reduce strains. In such an environment the physical condition of mold technicians will improve. Since these technicians are now not constantly recovering from the strains and injuries associated with prying, pulling and pounding on heavy metal molds, morale in the tool room improves. Improved morale is often thought to increase productivity.
- The cumulative effects of better conditions in the tool room allow for more considered and effective analysis of the repaired work to be performed for the maintenance of molds and more time to perform these tasks at a safe work pace. Like any equipment, properly maintained molds perform better allowing for more production of better parts. The amount of time saved by the use of the Die-Sep will vary for each tool room by the experience of its technicians as well as the size and tolerances of the various molds. The Die-Sep mold separators are capable of safely separating, tipping up, tipping down and closing molds of 6,000 pounds in 90 seconds, molds of 8,000 pounds in 3 minutes and molds 50,000 pounds in 5 minutes.
4. Will the intervention cause Quality to increase, decrease or stay the same?
The intervention will definitely improve or increase quality of not only the repairs to the molds but also the quality of the plastic parts being manufactured because better maintained molds produce better parts.