Research Student Awarded Grant From ASSE

The American Society of Safety Engineers Foundation awarded a grant to an Auburn University PhD candidate who is\r\nworking on a project that could make machinery tasks safer.

The American Society of Safety Engineers Foundation (ASSEF) awarded an $8,275 grant to an Auburn University PhD candidate who is working on a project that could result in wide-ranging benefits for employer and workers.

The recipient of the ASSEF research grant is Lewis N. Payton who is majoring in manufacturing techniques at Auburn''s (AL) Advanced Machining Research lab.

Payton''s research project, "Adaptive Safety Control of the Metal Cutting Process with Machine Vision" is focused on investigating effective interventions for prevention of traumatic injuries; adaptive risk-control principles in the production machining process; reduction/elimination of risk of disease from cutting fluids in the production machining process; and criteria to establish risk control in the workstation.

The project was triggered in part by OSHA statistics that found workers suffer many ergonomic and physical injuries, including amputation, every year in the performance of various machinery tasks in the manufacturing industry.

OSHA also noted that additional risks such as cancer and respiratory effects are some of the hazards that can occur from working in the vicinity of high speed metal cutting operations using traditional metal cutting fluids.

Preliminary research findings show that water may even be a better cutting fluid than oil mists for the purpose of lubricating the tool chip interface and the rapid removal of heat from the chip bulk.

In his ASSEF grant application, Payton explained, "The current oil based mists have been linked to cancer in the colon, stomach, esophagus, pancreas, larynx and rectal cancers. This research may prove that there are significant benefits in using water as a cutting fluid."

Additionally, Payton said that the other safety outcomes of this research could include developing an adaptive control system that reacts to the hardness of the material being machined, which will reduce the vibration of the work piece; prolonging the tool life; improving the finish of the work process while increasing the safety of the machinery operator; reducing or eliminating the use of current metal cutting fluids and developing the use of machine vision to predict tool wear and failure prior to catastrophic breakage of the tool.

In addition, the project will develop help in modeling the system safety of a manufacturing production cell from the design stages to implementation and will examine other ways to substitute machine vision for human interaction with high-energy cutting systems reducing the interaction of the worker with the system resulting in a reduction in the risk of injury.

"We selected Mr. Payton''s proposal based on its outstanding and high quality of presentation and its potential to establish risk-control principles in the production machining process," said Larry Oldendorf, PE, and ASSEF research committee chair. "In addition, the researcher requested funding for supplies and equipment to upgrade current systems to the University''s Advanced Machining Research Laboratory that would continue to be used for research and training students."

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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