“One of our main aims by introducing the new level of automation was to reduce the number of manual handling steps at the stations,” explains Peter Dunn, Manager Regional Engineering at BOC Australia. “The heavy labour takes its toll on our workers – especially those who have been doing it over time.” With gas cylinders weighing between 30 and 50 kilos, hauling them about is certainly not ideal for the shoulders, elbows, wrists or feet. “By automating various process steps, we are significantly reducing the risk of incidents.”
In other words, automation takes people out of the picture at physically strenuous and hazardous points – and internal incident statistics are already starting to reflect this. While there were 150 of these incidents worldwide in 2013, the number of forklift-related accidents in 2017 was down by half – in part thanks to the use of AGVs.
But automation is not only helping to reduce the risk of injuries. It’s a game changer. The technology transformation will benefit both company and its customers. Robots, sensors, 3D cameras – all these cutting-edge features of an emerging new machine age provide unseen efficiency gains, higher quality levels and greater flexibility. As for the filling plant in Sydney the new system allows BOC to supply many scientific and calibration gases in almost half of the time and at a higher packing pressure.