Norbar Case Study
Vinidex Extrusion Mould Bolt Breakout
Engineering a safer alternative for pipe production
Vinidex are a national leader in pipe systems and solutions, manufacturing and supplying quality PVC, polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), ductile (DICL) and industrial pipe systems to a range of industries.
Vinidex is one of Australia’s foremost environmentally conscious manufacturers and suppliers, with this commitment being a driving factor for their service to large business and Government lead projects.
Extrusion Moulding for Pipe Production
Extrusion moulding is the process of forcing melted plastic through a mould to form along ‘tube like’ shape. The mould, heating elements and injection probes are held into place by plates retained by bolts. Vinidex utilise several moulds each day to achieve a range of piping with differing diameter, length, and shape.
Image: Vinidex manufactures and supplies PVC, polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), ductile (DICL) and industrial pipe systems to a range of industries.
Changing the Mould – A Risky Manoeuvre
Due to the extreme heat and pressure used throughout the moulding process, bolts used to retain the mould plates become difficult to remove, dramatically increasing the breakout torque required to loosen them again.
To successfully achieve a mould change, operators with enough physical strength utilised a custom breaker bar with an open-end spanner attachment to breakout the bolts. This method was physically demanding and required operators to work in confined spaces, leading to increased risk of slip, strain and burn injuries. It also excluded a vast portion of their workforce due to the strength required to carry out the task.
Mitigating Risk – A Norbar Solution
Norbar Australia completed an assessment of the task to identify specific problem areas. Then, a comprehensive Bolting Solution Proposal was developed to address each problem. With the right tools, the safety risks would be resolved, while also gaining significant benefits in the allocation of resources.
Image: Mould connecting plate at Vinidex.
- Norbar NHC-1 Inline Hydraulic wrench with 41mm Cassette to apply the appropriate torque to undo and retorque the mould plate retaining bolts
- Electric hydraulic pump and portable cage with 6m hoses – to allow a single operator to control the pressure required to operate the Hydraulic wrench
- ETO reaction plate – to transfer the reaction energy to a safe and stable point of contact engineered by Norbar and fit for purpose
OH&S Risk Reduction
The Norbar ETO design process enables a solution that is customised and fit for purpose – the result is the removal of all manual handling risks while ensuring that the fine instrumentation within the machinery is not damaged.
The ability to operate the hydraulic equipment remotely also means that operators no longer engage with extremely hot machinery.
Increased Resource Allocation
As the new process eliminates the requirement for physical strength, all technicians are now capable of completing the task.
Image: Norbar NHC with 41mm link and ETO reaction plate.