Less noise in the bottling hall
Hardness of hearing relating to noise is the most common occupational disease. 6,000 incidents every year in Germany alone speak for themselves. Therefore plans and strategies for effective noise protection were at the centre of the exchange of experiences between HEUFT SYSTEMTECHNIK GMBH and the "Berufsgenossenschaft Nahrungsmittel und Gaststätten (BGN)", the German Employer´s Liability Insurance Association for the Food and Catering Industry. Innovative solutions which reduce the noise level in the bottling hall with lasting effect and at the same time increase efficiency convinced the occupational safety and prevention experts of the HEUFT know-how.
It is the main task of the BGN, as the responsible body for legal accident insurance for beverage and bottling industry companies, to prevent occupational health hazards. This is particularly true as regards noise protection. "The greatest noise reduction effect is achieved during the design phase of a machine" explained Thomas Fritsch the BGN noise protection expert at the meeting with the representatives from HEUFT in Mannheim, Germany. On average this effect is already 60 percent of the total which can be achieved. Therefore Mr Fritsch advises food and drink producers to invest in devices which are up-to-date as regards sound emission and which comply with legal requirements. Because stricter limits will apply in the EU as from the end of the year. The new machinery directive 2006/42/EG which comes into effect on 29 December stipulates that the airborne noise emission value of machines must not exceed 80 dB (A). The maximum was 85 dB (A) until now.
For a quiet bottle flow
Project engineer Sebastian Leopold proved that HEUFT also provides the best available technology in this important field. He presented plans and solutions for reducing noise when transporting and laning containers in his talk at the exchange of experiences with the BGN experts in Mannheim. Mr Leopold identified inadequate conveyor mechanics and colliding bottles due to variable conveyor speeds as the main cause for an increased noise level in the bottling hall. "Therefore it is necessary to eliminate fluctuations in speed in order to obtain a continuous bottle flow" the HEUFT expert said.
Quiet gap closing with the HEUFT synchron
This is possible with the HEUFT synchron conveyor control system which reacts immediately to container rejections. It looks at a complete control range constantly and determines the necessary conveyor speeds in real time. In addition it monitors the bottles in the infeed and outfeed continuously and closes gaps in the bottle flow quietly and gently. The conveyor speed is adapted to the lowest necessary speed automatically. Mr Leopold said: "This occurs in such a controlled manner that the bottles do not collide." The result: less wear and tear to the bottles and the conveyors, a clear increase in the efficiency of the complete line and at the same time a dramatic reduction to the noise level.
Noise reduction in a simple way
Jammed bottles at the transition from the mass transportation to the single lanes before the packer also cause noise which is damaging to health. The HEUFT line-up laning system puts things right. Special sensors detect potential jammed bottles and countersteer these in time with a controlled oscillation of the guide rails. According to Mr Leopold the HEUFT relax container fanning out system also makes "an effective noise reduction in a simple way" possible. "It gently spreads the containers from a single-lane transport onto the mass conveyor." No pressure, no wear and tear, less scuffing and above all considerably less noise are the result. One of the many successful installations of this HEUFT solution at a large brewery in Southern Germany is proof of this: "The noise level was between 95 and 96 dB (A) before the installation and a normal conversation was possible in the same place afterwards."
The HEUFT solutions presented for reducing noise were very well received by the BGN experts. These together with talks and demonstrations contributed to further ideas for effective noise protection as well as a background for the subject of hygiene. This transfer of knowledge expanded the know-how of all the persons involved and in addition helps to protect the health of the employees in filling plants with lasting effect. [hwa]