Blog post 04/2021: Greif-Velox Safe Operation Gate: Greatly increased efficiency for manually operated valve bag filling systems

Maximum worker safety and optimised ergonomics for the manual operation of valve bag filling systems: in combination with an ascending conveyor belt, Greif-Velox’s Safe Operation Gate increases efficiency by around 40 percent and greatly reduces labour costs.

When manually operating most valve bag filling systems, there are two things that negatively impact efficiency and ergonomics.
Firstly, the European Machinery Directive (2006/42/EC) and the general design principles in DIN EN ISO 12100 state that when an employee is operating non-enclosed machinery with moving parts, as is the case with semi-automated valve bag filling systems with automatic bag sealing, the employee must remain stationary by the controls to avoid the risk posed by dangerous moving parts. The classic solution for this is electrical two-hand controls, where both controls have to be actuated at once for operation to begin.
However, this means reduced efficiency as the operator cannot engage in any other work during operation.
Secondly, there is another disadvantage: once the bag has been successfully filled and sealed, the operator must manually place it on a pallet or conveyor belt. With a fill weight of between 10 and 50 kg, this can mean a great deal of physical exertion for the worker, especially when large quantities are being filled per hour.


The Greif-Velox solution

To make the workplace particularly ergonomic for workers, Greif-Velox has developed a solution which boosts both employee safety and productivity: the Greif-Velox Safe Operation Gate.
Firstly, this feature comprises a safety fence which ensures the necessary safety distance between the machine and the operator. Secondly, a safety light curtain in the machine’s access area ensures that the machine does not start when someone or something is located in the danger zone. This means that the operator is not tied to the two-hand controls during filling, freeing him up to perform other tasks such as packaging or setup work.
An ascending conveyor belt can assist the worker when loading the filled sacks onto a pallet or conveyor belt.

Concrete added value of the Safe Operation Gate

Based on a rate of 200 bags per hour and 10 seconds spent on two-hand controls per bag, the Safe Operation Gate can turn approx. 25 minutes per hour of inactive waiting time into productive working time. In an eight-hour shift, this translates to an efficiency increase of 40 percent.
With a four-shift system and labour costs of 40 euros per hour, that means a saving of more than 100,000 euros per year.

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