See-through polycarbonates offer machinery and structural safeguarding benefits for the manufacturing sector. Strong yet lightweight, plastics such as Wearguard polycarbonates can be used in place of metals and offer protection against common hazards. The adoption of transparent and tough plastics has the added benefit of facilitating high visibility of manufacturing processes, and is suited to industrial machinery retrofits, updates and new technology installations.
“As the pace of industrial change accelerates, employers have a commensurate obligation to update their risk management plans in accordance with recognised Safe Work codes and employer duties of care,” Laurie Green, Managing Director of Cut To Size Plastics, said. The use of see-through protective materials is in line with these changing needs, and especially applicable to industries that employ new technology as well as workplaces that centre around high-speed production, distribution and maintenance, as is the case in manufacturing.
Such environments pose particular hazards to workers that include impact and other injuries that may result from contact with moving parts, together with proximity to electrical, heat and chemical processes, all of which can often require shielding. These are hazards that extend beyond manufacturing to also encompass mineral processing and bulk materials handling, metals fabrication, construction, architectural materials, manufacturing, and food and beverage processing, packaging and distribution, according to Green.
Green advocates Wearguard polycarbonate as a future-focused material that has a number of safety features that could help shield workers from the hazards they face during their duties. Such features include impact resistance performance and shock load resistance, which is many times that of acrylic clear sheet, according to Green. Green also suggests that the see-through safety quality of this material makes it suited to indoor and outdoor glazing and protective applications that would, until recent years, have required the use of metal or a similar material.
Some of the many applications of see-through polycarbonate screening include: in viewing and protective panelling; as machine guards; in cabin panels on heavy machinery or side screening for materials handling machinery, such as forklifts; on expressway acoustic panels; as anti-vandalism or security glazing; in skylights or on sign faces; in marine environments, such as for vessel windows; and as sight glass tubes for observation in industrial settings.
In addition to providing high visibility commensurate with thickness, such polycarbonates also offer high heat resistance — with certain products offering a melting point of 150°C. The Wearguard polycarbonate also have the benefit of not being influenced by sudden humidity and temperature changes, and offer dimensional stability, being readily machined by bending, cutting or drilling.
Safety Solutions | Health & Safety at Work
March 06, 2020