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Mesh manufacturing safety innovation at Sunshine

28 March 2022

InfraBuild’s mesh manufacturing at Sunshine makes at least 450 buttwelds each day across seven cold rolling lines and eight mesh machines – equating to more than 100,000 every year!

In August 2021, a wire line operator was using a buttwelder to join two rod coil ends together. When tension of the right-hand clamp was released, the hot coil end recoiled towards the operator. The Afternoon Shift team took on the challenge of finding an engineering solution to eliminate the risk of this recurring by designing a prototype to protect operators from a recoiling rod end.

The ultimate challenge was to design something the operators would use as part of the usual buttwelding process without hampering them or introducing other risks.

The first prototype was successful but created difficulties for the operators to release heavier gauge rod. Not deterred, the team developed a second prototype but regrettably had electrical issues when the rod touched the shield.

Finally, the team decided to incorporate bakelite to insulate the shield from the buttwelder and prevent the loss of power. Following successful several trials, this prototype was approved.

This new engineering control eliminates the risk of an operator being in the line of fire of a recoiling rod end. The modification is a testament to the initiative of our Production and Maintenance teams working together and can be implemented on buttwelders across the business.

The newly designed rod shields on a buttwelder

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