Reel safety requires extreme caution and good design features

Apr 24, 2018

A reel is a high speed, highly automated machine which receives paper from other high speed, highly automated machines. Often the reel is located in close proximity to the next process which stores or unwinds the parent rolls created by the reel.

Spools and parent rolls are continually being transferred to and from the reel as well as the adjacent machine sections. This makes the vicinity of the reel a potentially dangerous place requiring special attention in terms of occupational safety.

Reel safety design features

Reels are designed to minimize risks. Design features include:

  • using the “risk reduction by design” principle throughout the design process
  • guards and fences positioned to limit access to hazardous locations
  • warning signs and colors used to draw attention to hazards or moving equipment
  • shut-off valves, limit switches and logic program interlocks which prevent improper operation
  • emergency stop controls located in danger areas, for use in case of life-threatening situations.

However, despite safety-conscious equipment designs, operators must still exercise extreme caution around the reel.

WARNING! WARNING: Reeling is a high-speed, potentially dangerous process. Safe operation of the reel requires alertness on the part of all operating and observing personnel.

General reel safety recommendations

  1. Heed warning and safety notices posted on the machine and in the area. They are installed to warn personnel of possible danger. Observe all instructions. Never remove warning signs. Replace them when worn.
  2. Routinely check the structural integrity and operation of all equipment. Check the operation of all emergency stops, electrical interlocks, and related limit switches on a regular basis to assure proper operation. Safety faults must be repaired and cleared by qualified personnel before resuming operation. Check for proper operation of all alarm signals, flashing lights, and alarm horns. Check alarm screens for any alarms and correct faults as needed. Check that all fluid systems are functioning correctly (motors, pumps, hoses, cylinders, pressure). Check for air and oil leaks, including the piping under the machine and on the floor below. Replace worn parts. Check fasteners securing the frames and other components to the floor. Make sure that all warning signs, barriers, guards, and safety fences/gates are in place and in good working order before starting the machine. They have been installed to protect personnel.
  3. Handle the equipment at the control bench with care. Do not place objects on the keyboard, color display or pointing device (joystick or trackball). All equipment is susceptible to failure if placed in contact with liquids or excessive heat and/or humidity. Allow adequate air flow around the units at all times. Operate the keyboard and pointing device with reasonable pressure.
  4. Keep the area around the reel clean, and free from obstructions of any kind. Make sure that all controls are completely accessible. Keep foreign articles off footwalks and out of walkways to prevent personnel from tripping and falling into the machine. Wipe up spilled oil, grease, water, kerosene or other solutions which may cause a person to slip. Check the reeling rails for debris; keep the rails clear so that the reel spools can roll freely.
  5. To prevent accidents, avoid working in the vicinity of the reel during operations except when absolutely necessary. When tasks require operators to work in the reel’s immediate vicinity, use extreme caution.
  6. Use appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). With the exception of the control room, all personnel in the reel area should wear ear plugs, eye protection with side shields, and steel-toe shoes. Appropriate gloves should be worn when handling sharp items. A hard hat should be worn when doing maintenance. A full face shield and hard hat should be worn if personnel must be in the immediate reel area during full speed operation.
  7. Do not exceed the machine specifications. The equipment provided is designed only for the intended conditions. Equipment failure from exceeding specifications (speed, roll sizes, etc.) could result in serious injury or death. Never build a roll larger than design specifications. Exceeding bending and torque stresses can damage spools, increasing the risk of spool failure. Excessive speed can lead to damaging vibration.
  8. Beware of moving equipment (primary arms, secondary arms, rolls), even when apparently stopped. For instance, rolls may be unexpectedly "jogged" forward or back to advance the sheet, creating dangerous nips.
  9. Any nip point on this equipment is a danger area. Keep clothing and all parts of the body away from the area between rotating rolls and stationary objects (such as nip guards, frame components, neighboring machines), and all ingoing nips. There is a hazard of being drawn in or crushed by the rotating roll. Do not wear any loose clothing that could become entangled in the roll nips.
  10. Never go between the reel drum and adjacent rolls/spools, or between two parent rolls.
  11. Never place any body parts (hands, head, feet) through openings on the frame.
  12. Never thread closed nips by hand.
  13. Be especially cautious when standing or working in the vicinity of threading ropes and belt nips. Keep all parts of the body away from belt drives.
  14. Prior to starting the reel, check that no person or object is near moving parts and that all personnel have exited specified danger areas. Where applicable, do not reset any interlocked gates or other protective devices until all personnel have exited the restricted areas. Do not run the reel at operating speeds if anyone is in the immediate vicinity of the reel. Shut down and lockout the reel before maintenance.
  15. Do not overreach. Keep proper footing at all times.
  16. Stay away from a moving web. Cuts from a running web can cause severe injury or death. Low moisture paper can build up a static charge when carried by non-conducting rolls. A static discharge from the web or roll can cause injury.
  17. Never touch or mark the reel spool, roll, or reel drum surface while the roll is rotating. Keep away from rotating rolls at all times.
  18. Do not remove broke by passing it through moving nips (such as the roll/drum nip). Bring the reel to a complete stop before removing broke from nip areas. Hands and/or body parts can become entangled in the broke and be pulled through the nip.
  19. Use an air hose to remove any loose paper debris (broke) around the machine. Make sure that the hose has a hard safety nozzle end (at least 4 inches in diameter) which will not pass through a closed nip. Avoid ingoing nips.
  20. Be aware of the pulper opening through the floor below and in front of the reel drum. Keep outside of any barriers which block access. If it is necessary to work around the opening, first shut off and lockout all equipment, and wear a safety harness to prevent falling.
  21. Never remove guards or other protective devices except during maintenance. Make sure that all equipment is replaced before operation is resumed.
  22. Hazards located beyond reach from designated operator positions are not required to have guarding. Do not use ladders, stools, or other devices to reach these areas unless the entire machine has been locked out.
  23. Do not use hand held devices to turn up new parent rolls. If an emergency air hose is required, the hose must be equipped with a metal nozzle or wand approximately 600 mm (2 feet) in length. Hose length and hose connection placement must prohibit the possibility of an operator becoming encircled and/or entangled with the hose. The operator should wear a safety harness with a lanyard attached when working around the broke hole area or above the reel.
  24. Stay away from the turn-up device, especially in designs utilizing a cutting device. Lockout the machine before doing maintenance.
  25. Wear appropriate gloves when changing doctor blades. Blades become sharpened by contact with the rolls.
  26. Always bring the reel spool up to speed before contact with the reel drum.
  27. Keep out of the area between the rails when a parent roll is being ejected or during the turn-up sequence. A warning horn is sounded at these times.
  28. Avoid use of areas between machines during operation, (i.e. the area between the reel and an unwind or calender). Such areas should not be used as a general walkway and should not be entered during operation unless necessary; exit these areas as quickly as possible.
  29. Do not walk under rolls or spools at any time. Whenever a roll or spool is being carried by a crane, a warning should be sounded.
  30. Do not walk, stand, or reach under any moving component unless the reel hydraulics are locked out and the component is properly supported. Unexpected movements could cause serious injuries or death.
  31. Do not operate the reel with damaged parts, spools that have bent journals, or spools that are out-of-balance.
  32. Do not take paper samples from a moving reel (whether building, suspended, or being transported).
  33. Do not remove slab from a finished parent roll while the reel is suspended or being transported.

For more more information on improving the safety in your reel area, contact your Valmet representative about training and safety-enhancing rebuilds.