If the yellow safety relays or controls trip, the person is protected and the machine is off. The Competence Center Services comes into play to ensure that this functions smoothly and that a system error does not trigger expensive downtimes. A visit to a very special “rapid reaction force”.
Most important tools of the Safety Hotline? Phone and eMail. If you contact the specialists from the Competence Center Services, you have a problem that needs to be solved as quickly as possible. However, anyone who imagines employees who are always armed with a headset and usually only moderately trained to answer rather than deal with the mass calls from stressed customers will rub their eyes in amazement when visiting the “Safety” area at Phoenix Contact. It is true that headsets are also available here. But where do you find complex control cabinet applications on every desk? In which hotline are test runs in large-scale tests on the wall? And where do signal colored safety jackets hang directly in front of the door? Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
Competence for standstill
“We are all trained safety engineers,” says Volker Lange explaining the composition of the four-member team in which the 48-year-old is active. Safety engineers are experts who test and assess the safety of machines and, if necessary, make changes. In addition, the experts are familiar with all the relevant standards that must be observed for machine and operational safety.
“One has no idea what customers can do when it comes to security.”Volker Lange, Safety Engineer, Phoenix Contact
What sounds like dust-dry matter can quickly become reality if necessary. “There has already been the situation where colleagues were picked up by helicopter and taken to the customer,” says Volker Lange, describing the anything but monotonous work of the Competence Center Services. “Usually things are a little less dramatic,” he smiles. Nevertheless, things get serious when, for example, a large composting plant has to extend its emergency stop capability and the creation of a software specification is required. Or the manufacturer of a driverless transport system (AGV) needs a demo solution that requires not only standard programming of the control modules but also appropriate safety programming.
Based on their experience with control technologies, the supporters also provide support for network-compatible hybrid motor starters and energy measuring devices, in this case also on behalf of the Phoenix Contact product lines internationally. “Questions such as the integration into industrial networks are frequent”, Lange chats from the sewing box.
“Actually, however, we are more of an advisory service, for example, we support our sales colleagues when they visit customers. Or we help on site if problems with the security application arise. We also provide support during commissioning after a new installation and take a close look at security concepts.”
If the telephone consultation is not sufficient in the event of an acute malfunction, the hotline experts can also remotely connect to the customer’s PC if he wishes to do so. “In this way, the vast majority of errors can be quickly identified and the problems solved,” explains Lange. If things get more complicated, they can even reproduce a piece of equipment in the office. Most of the safety components are stored in a small warehouse. This allows possible wiring or connection errors to be imitated and tracked down. “By the way, also with components from other manufacturers, which are combined with ours.” No wonder that Volker Lange and his colleagues have more of an e‑laboratory look than a “normal” office. And the jackets in front of the door?
“If the machine continues to stand still and resists all attempts at correction, then we grab tools, measuring equipment and a selection of spare parts and drive to the customer.” The headset is then not needed. But the appropriate clothing for use beyond the desk. A touch of the fire brigade and operations centre that surrounds this extraordinary hotline.
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