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Southco’s fastening solutions, suitable for machine guarding applications, are said to aid compliance with new Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC, which became effective on 29 December 2009.

Machine builders across Europe must design safeguards to protect equipment operators, while providing services that minimise downtime.

Access hardware solutions provider Southco can help machine builders adhere to the new regulations.

Ulrike Sturman, industry marketing manager for diversified technologies at Southco, said: ‘The industrial machinery and equipment market is a very fragmented industry and covers a vast and diversified range of sectors.

‘At Southco, we can offer designers, suppliers and purchasers of industrial equipment the complete solution, in terms of fastening devices, technical expertise and a wide and localised distribution network to support the requirements of a segmented industry to comply with the EU directive,’ added Sturman.

The company offers captive and quick-access fasteners for machine guarding and hinges and positioning control devices for positioning adjustable guards and for allowing monitor screens and control panels to be moved smoothly with zero backlash through controlled torque mechanisms.

Southco also offers a range of access hardware solutions and positioning technology products.

According to the company, compliance means extra costs to a business and is therefore a price-sensitive issue.

This is reflected by the quick-fix and do-it-yourself solutions being adopted by many small to medium-size industrial equipment manufacturers and operators.

Sturman continued: ‘We believe those who adopt these short-term approaches will create a lot of problems for themselves longer term.

‘However, those willing to invest in our reliable and easy-to-use captive and quick-access hardware solution, rather than plumping for cheaper options, will not only comply with the directive but also enjoy additional benefits.

‘These include a longer lifecycle, enhanced product performance and long-term cost savings,’ added Sturman.

For fixed guards, the directive has three key stipulations: fixed guards must be fixed by systems that can be opened or removed only with tools; their fixing systems must remain attached to the guards or to the machinery when the guards are removed where possible; and guards must be incapable of remaining in place without their fixings.

Engineered fixing systems using Southco’s range of captive screws minimise the problems commonly experienced with loose screws, nuts or bolts dropping into operating equipment.

In addition, engineered fixing systems that utilise captive, self-aligning designs improve the speed of assembly, according to the company.

The range includes screws with a smooth knob action, screws that are flush fitting for safety and smooth head screws for use in a limited space.

For added safety, differently coloured head styles are available.

For quick access – which is useful for repeat-access applications – and high-strength and economical performance, the Dzus quarter-turn and fast-lead captive fastener ranges provide different options for tool-restricted access and flush or low-profile installations.

Also available are self-ejecting options that provide a visual indicator for unfastened guards, while the spring-ejection feature helps clear fasteners out of the way in multiple-fastener applications.

For adjustable guards restricting access to those areas of the moving parts strictly necessary for the work, the directive states that they must be readily adjustable without the use of tools.

For these applications, Southco has a range of controlled torque positioning devices, providing the ability to raise, lower, tilt, swivel and position adjustable guards for better safety protection during equipment operation and to facilitate access when necessary.

These devices, which include the recently launched AV-D30 mounting arm, can also hold guards in a partially or fully open position without secondary hardware in order to provide unrestricted maintenance access.

The directive states that ‘interlocking moveable guards must, as far as possible, remain attached to the machinery when open, be designed and constructed in such a way that they can be adjusted only by means of an intentional action and be designed in such a way that the absence or failure of one of their components prevents starting or stops the hazardous machinery functions’.

For these applications, Southco can offer tethered quick-access pins with push-button actuation for locking moveable safety guards into place, as well as for activating electronic lockout sensors on moveable guards.

Additional devices such as captive spring-loaded plungers also enable the quick positioning and fixing of sliding guards.

‘Initially, our main focus is on machine guarding applications across five key segments – namely printing and labelling, textile, processing and packaging, materials handling and compressors,’ said Sturman.

Southco offers a broad range of latching solutions including locks, latches, hinges, handles and fasteners.  Southco´s distinctive human touch point solutions are important components of products that people interact with. They ensure a positive first impression while never overlooking the importance of optimum safety and secure operations.

For over 100 years, Southco has helped customers solve and overcome engineering challenges and our passion, vision and focus today is to help customers differentiate their products´ engineered touch points.

Southco is a leading global supplier with more than 2000 employees in over 20 countries, together with sales, distribution, engineering and customer service centers in over 30 countries. Southco can support you wherever you are in the world.

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