CEB Press Operation, Safety, and Maintenance
Operation, Safety, and Maintenance
Firstly, the User must acknowledge that the Machine is a heavy piece of powered equipment, and poses inherent risks of injury or death that may result from improper usage or accidents. If all operating, safety, and maintenance procedures are followed, these risks are minimized or nonexistent.
Inherent risks for the Machine arise from several sources:
- The Machine is powered by hydraulic fluid pressure, as produced by an external power source.
- There are risks associated with moving parts.
- There are risks associated with the heavy weight of the Machine.
- There are risks associated with the electrical power delivery to the Machine electronics.
- There may be risks associated with the power unit used with the Machine.
- The Machine is typically used under a workflow involving other heavy machinery used for ancillary purposes, such as soil preparation and loading. All these risks, while insignificant under normal operating conditions, can be injurious or deadly when proper procedures are not followed.
Hydraulic Fluid Power - General Safety Considerations
Hydraulic fluid power is used to power the Machine. The Machine is plugged into a power source via hydraulic hoses. The hydraulic power is generated by an external power unit, wherein a gas, diesel, electric, or other engine drives a hydraulic pump - which in turn pumps hydraulic fluid at high pressure through the hydraulic circuit. Depending on the power unit used, the fluid going into the Machine may be anywhere from 2000 to 5000 PSI. This is extremely high pressure, and may be a danger to the User in case of direct contact. For example, death or injury may result from a hose rupturing and hot, hydraulic fluid hitting a person directly. It should be noted that hydraulic fluid under normal working conditions reaches temperatures of up to 180F (82C), which can produce burns on the body, and will cause serious human body damage if delivered under pressure. Moreover, loose hoses may spring back and forth as pressure is applied and released within them, so there is some danger of being hit by a flexing hose. Also, hydraulic leaks under such high pressure can cause fluid injection below the skin or amputation.
For safety, the User should take several steps.
- Hydraulic hoses, and especially exposed hydraulic hoses, should be inspected for their integrity. When a hose is damaged or worn out, it should be replaced immediately.
- All hoses should be secured such that they move as little as possible upon pressure being cycled. Hoses should be secured in such a fashion that they do not rub against each other or against other metal parts. This prevents damage due to friction - as the rubber covering will be abraded readily, and the metal braids inside will be damaged subsequently, placing the hose at a risk of failure.
- The User should stay as far away as possible from the hydraulic hoses during machine operation and should wear safety glasses when near the Machine in case of hose rupture.
Moving Parts Safety Issues
The Machine has three moving parts: the main cylinder and its assembly, the secondary cylinder with the soil-loading drawer, and the soil shaker. Any User should stay behind the Safety Rope at all times when the Machine is in operation. Users with long hair should ensure hair is safely secured to prevent capture in the grate shaker motor. If the User puts their hand in the way of any pinch point, the User runs a serious risk of losing a limb immediately, and death in the worst case. The force of the main cylinder is approximately 40,000 lb, and the force of the secondary cylinder is about 10,000 lb. Also, note that the hoses flex like a stiff muscle when pressurized, so make sure that you are aware of this motion and keep well away.
Heavy Weight Issues
The Machine weighs about 1600 lb total. The User should avoid any situation in which there is a risk of the Machine toppling on top of the User, as injury or death by crushing may occur. This is especially true if the Machine is being moved. The Machine is designed to be moved by forklift, with forklift arms placed under the Machine arms closest to the main cylinder frame. Whenever moving the Machine, the User should secure the Machine to the forks with chains. When placing the Machine on the ground, the User should select as level a site as possible to minimize the possibility of the Machine moving. The surface directly under each foot of the Machine should be leveled so that the feet lie flat.
The Machine electronics are powered by 12 volts via the battery clamps. Typically, the battery that comes with the power unit is tapped. The User should be aware of the standard dangers of electric shock when working with 12V batteries.
Power Unit Safety
The power unit may emit loud noise, in which case any User in close proximity should wear ear protection. Standard safety procedures should be taken when dealing with engines - such as staying away from moving parts, not using indoors for risk of gaseous poisoning, and considering the risk of flammability and explosion associated with liquid or other fuels. Since the power unit connects to the Machine via hydraulic hoses, care should be taken not to step on or trip over them. Care should be taken not to damage the hoses, and to make sure that hose quick connections are securely coupled when starting the Machine. There is a risk of damaging the power unit in case of hoses being disconnected if the power unit does not have an internal pressure relief bypass. If there is no internal pressure relief and a hose is not connected, hoses on the power unit run a risk of rupture due to high pressure buildup when starting the power unit. Moreover, Users with long hair should take precautions to make sure that their hair is secured to prevent inadvertent capture in moving parts of the power unit.
Workflow Safety Issues
The workflow of a CEB production operation may involve a number of people and heavy equipment. The User should stay away from the working path of tractors or other heavy equipment, and wear protective eyewear and a hardhat.
The general workflow immediately surrounding the Machine may consist of:
- One or more tractors loading the hopper from the front of the Machine;
- One or more people unloading the Machine from the opposite side.
The workflow should include a set of rollers or some table surface, such that Users unloading the Machine are at least 20 feet from the hopper of the Machine. This helps to prevent any accidents related to the loader-tractor operator impacting the Machine, and the Machine subsequently hitting people on the opposite side.
The soil-loader-tractor operator should come to a full stop prior to releasing the bucket to assure a controlled soil drop and to avoid inadvertently bumping the machine.
The hopper shaker will go on and off automatically according to the programming of the Machine; the User should be aware of this so as not to be startled by the vigorous shaking.
There are inherent risks associated with operating the Machine in foul weather. The User should never operate the Machine when there is lightning in the area, and should avoid operating the Machine when it is raining or wet. Slippery ground may be dangerous, causing the User to fall and/or fall onto the Machine; slipping may also be a danger when the User is carrying a load of blocks. Each block weighs 10-20 lbs, so Users should wear solid boots to prevent injuries related to bricks falling. During extremely hot weather, Users should pay attention to the temperature of the power unit and the hydraulic fluid, and should discontinue operations if the hydraulic fluid exceeds recommended temperatures. In extremely cold weather, the User should first warm up the Machine to normal operating temperature by running at idle, or undue stress resulting in premature hydraulic hose rupture may occur.
The Machine is built with a number of safety features:
- Pressure Relief Valves
- The Machine features two pressure relief valves to release hydraulic system pressure above 2200 PSI, in order to prevent pressure buildup that could potentially rupture hydraulic hoses. The pressure relief valves are essential to the safe and efficient operation of the Machine, and they are activated on a continuous basis. The main pressure relief valve is located on the main hydraulic hoses, and the second pressure relief valve is located on the solenoid valve. The pressure relief valves may be activated upon:
- jamming or other unforeseen machine condition;
- end of the compression stroke of the main cylinder;
- cylinders reaching their limits of travel.
- Hose protectors - hoses are placed inside a sleeve to protect the hoses from rubbing and to prevent a ruptured hose from shooting fluid at a person
- Kill Switch
- The safety rope around the Machine, which also serves as the power cord for the automatic controls, serves as a kill switch. When this rope is pulled from any of the 3 sides other than the control panel side, power is shut off to the machine. Another power switch is located on the bottom of the controller box.
- Hopper Orientation
- The hopper is oriented in such a fashion that the tractor-loader approaches the machine from one side, and bricks are ejected from the other side. The Machine is designed for use with brick rollers attached to ejection side of the Machine. With brick rollers in place, people are removed away from the Machine by a recommended distance of 20 feet or more.
- Moving Part Covers
- All moving parts are inaccessible to the User when the User remains behind the safety rope. The main cylinder is within the main pressing frame, shielded on 4 sides from the User. The hopper shaker eccentric is located behind a safety shield, away from Users.
- Machine testing code
- Cylinder, bypass valve, and shaker motor functions may be tested independently with supporting control code to determine proper functioning of these components.
- Power Indicator Light in Power Switch
- Machine "ON" condition may be determined visually by observing whether the power switch is lit.
- Indicator Lights on Control Circuit
- For troubleshooting purposes, indicator lights on the solenoid driver board light up to indicate which solenoid sections are activated.
- Wear Protection
- The machine's soil-loading drawer rides on linear guides which help to minimize metal-on-metal contact of the drawer with the machine frame, extending machine life. 1/2" wear plates are found on the sides on the inside of the chamber, which can be replaced if they are worn out.
Operation and Maintenance Procedures
For safe operation of the Machine, all the points in the Operation, Safety, and Maintenance section must be kept in mind and followed. Here are further specific operation and maintenance points:
- Follow the CEB Assembly Video to put the Machine together.
- Complete the Machine assembly prior to testing and running the Machine.
- First Run and Setup
- Follow the Initial Setup and Testing Procedure on the wiki, and verify that the relief valves, cylinders, and hopper shaker are in working order.
- Inspect all hoses and hose connections.
- Tighten any bolts that may have loosened during shipping.
- Follow all points relevant to every run in the next section.
- Set the brick thickness and machine speed as needed, by following the Machine Adjustments section.
- Pre-run Check
- Observe the condition of hoses, check for any visible hydraulic fluid or gas leaks
- Have a fire extinguisher available on site to extinguish any engine fires
- Check the muffler to maker sure that oil has not spilled on it, as oil can ignite
- Check that the safety rope is connected
- Make sure there are no implements in the hopper or around the drawer, which could jam the drawer, break, or shatter with a lot of force
- Make sure that the drawer guard is installed on the drawer prior to starting the machine
- Check oil level in engine to make sure engine is not running on low oil
- Check hydrauilic oil level in engine to make sure the pump will not wear out
- Check hydraulic oil temperature
- Observe visually whether there are any broken parts or loose bolts
- Every Run
- Stay behind the safety rope at all times during operation, and remain 20 feet away from the machine unless you need to be closer.
- Inspect all hydraulic hoses for wear prior to beginning of brick production, and replace any defective hoses.
- If the machine jams for any reason, turn the power off immediately, identify and correct the problem, and restart the machine.
- Do not touch the machine while it is in operation.
- If you have long hair, make sure that it is kept away from the hopper shaker motor. Your hair may get wrapped up in the motor and pull you in, potentially killing you.
- Do not loosen the leg bolts when the machine is standing. Machine level adjustment should be performed only when a set of tractor forks or other jack is in used to prevent the machine from falling when the machine level is being adjusted.
- Wear safety goggles and a hard hat during machine operation, and ear protection in case the power unit makes a lot of noise.
- Listen to the relief valve system to make sure that it is working properly. You should hear a hiss every time the bypass condition happens.
- If you hear that the power source is bogged down or if it stops, disable the Machine immediately and identify the issue.
- Check all accessible bolts by hand or visually to make sure than they have not loosened during operation.
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