Yes. Not doing so contravenes federal, state and provincial machine safety requirements.
Die safety blocks are required per OSHA CFR 29 1910.217 (d)(9)(iv) Mechanical Power Presses, "The employer shall provide and enforce the use of safety blocks for use whenever dies are being adjusted or repaired in the press."
Die safety block requirements are spelled by out in the CSA Z-142-10 Code for Power Press Operation. Section 18.104.22.168.1 states, "Manually installed Safety blocking devices shall be designed, constructed and installed to hold the static load. Manually installed safety blocks that are used with mechanical power presses shall not be inserted beneath the slide/ram/platen until the flywheel has stopped."
Despite their simple appearance, this is not always easy to do.
Although we are required to have safety blocks at our presses, the wide variety of press types and variations in tooling options can make the selection process difficult. It's always a good idea to give us a call to discuss your application, but let's discuss a topic that occurs frequently.
How tall or how small should my blocks be?
One thing to remember is that it is easier to shorten a block than it is to make it longer.
We generally recommend starting with the maximum daylight of the press. This is done by measuring the distance between the press-bed and ram with the adjustment up and ram at top-dead-centre. This will accommodate applications that see the need to adjust or service the tool while it is in the press.
While neither OSHA or the CSA mandate the use of safety blocks during die setting, safety-focused companies include them during die setting procedures as a standard safety practice, but to fully answer this, you need to consider many factors. On smaller punch presses and many brake presses, the tooling can be larger than the ram area leaving you with no place to insert the safety ram block. In these situations, consider a ram block that will fit in the die area. We understand that using ram blocks during tool changes is not always possible, but it is strongly encouraged.
The standard formula for calculating the static load works well for mid-size and smaller stamping presses, but it's not necessarily suitable for laboratory or platen presses and it certainly can be misleading when it comes to very large stamping presses.
On large stamping presses the formula can significantly overstate the static load. This is certainly better than understating the load, but this can potentially lead to using more or larger blocks than is necessary.
When straight-side presses and four-post hydraulic presses are involved, we generally suggest customers contact the press manufacturer to find the following information on their press:
Maximum recommended weight of the upper tool.
Failure to properly interlock a safety ram block can lead to injury or death as well as serious damage to your press and tooling systems.
Both the ANSI B11.19. and CSA Z-142-10 safety standards require the use of electrical interlocks with safety blocks since they are only designed to hold the static weight of the slide and upper die, not the driving force of the press itself.
Additionally, ram blocks should be interlocked and stored in such a way that placing the block into the press area will result in the forced removal of power to the press.
Although there is no legal requirement to make the block bodies yellow, it is a good idea as it's easier to visually confirm their proper usage when they are highly visible.
What if I don't want yellow?
All of our safety ram blocks are finished with a highly visible, Safety-Yellow powder-coat finish, but we do offer a custom color option should you wish to utilize your company's own color scheme or color-code them to suit specialized applications.
All our safety ram blocks are powder-coat finished for durability in our own, in-house, powder-coating system.
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