June is National Safety Month! As with any kind of heavy machinery, operating a horizontal grinder needs to be done with care and consideration for worker safety. Thorough education is a key facet of creating a culture of workplace safety, and it’s essential for both grinder operators and employees working nearby to understand the risks associated with horizontal grinders, as well as the best practices for minimizing them.
Personal Protective Equipment and Best Practices
When using a horizontal grinder, operators should be equipped with the proper personal protective equipment and gear. This may include ear and eye protection to protect against hearing damage and thrown debris, as well as a hard hat, high-visibility clothing, and, depending on the feedstock being handled, gloves.
In addition, workers should dress in breathable but not loose-fitting clothing to prevent it from getting it caught in machinery. Long hair should be tied back, and dangling jewelry should be avoided for the same reason.
Before grinding, inspect your feedstock for foreign, ungrindable objects, which can cause sparking. Ensure you have first aid supplies and a fire extinguisher on the job site. While your horizontal grinder is in operation, operators should keep a good distance from both the infeed and discharge areas of the grinder in the case of thrown debris or other hazards.
Preventative Maintenance and Fire Prevention
Preventative maintenance programs are designed to keep your grinder running at its best—and not just in terms of productivity and decreased downtime. Preventative maintenance is also intended to catch small malfunctions or worn parts before they can turn into a larger issue. These programs save you money and improve the safety of your operation.
Because of feedstocks that may be flammable and long hours of operation, horizontal grinders can present the risk of fire. Among things like overheated machinery, leaks and worn part can cause fire hazards; preventative maintenance programs monitor and catch these problems before they turn from an annoyance into a hazard.
It’s also important to keep your horizontal grinder free from debris, as residue from feedstock and the finished product itself can catch fire. Keep the area around your grinder free from fuel and combustibles—this may mean moving your grinder away from your final product between grinding sessions.
Safety Features of Rotochopper Horizontal Grinders
Rotochopper horizontal grinders come equipped with guards intended to protect operators from moving machinery and flying debris. Before starting your grinder, always ensure the guards are in place, and never reach around a guard when the machine is in operation.
Horizontal grinders present the risk of thrown debris, though less so than tub grinders, due to the difference in rotor exposure. Rotochopper horizontal grinders are built with a down-cut rotor design, which further reduces the distance objects can be thrown. However, caution should always be taken around a horizontal grinder in operation.
When it comes to ungrindable objects, Rotochopper horizontal grinders are similarly built with safety in mind. Our patented screen change system uses cam arms and pins to hold grinding screens in place; when the screen hits a foreign object, it can fall away, limiting damage to the machine and reducing the chance of sparking.
Safety has been and always will always be a priority at Rotochopper. We are constantly innovating and improving our horizontal grinders to maximize both productivity and the safety of your horizontal grinding operation. To learn more, visit us online, or get in touch with one of our expert Rotochopper customer support representatives.