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Enhancing Machine Safety Education Through The Use Of Virtual Machinery

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Innovations in Manufacturing Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

14.570.1 - 14.570.24



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Paper Authors


Darrell Wallace Youngstown State University

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Darrell Wallace received his BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from The Ohio State University. He received a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from Ohio State in 2006. Dr. Wallace has worked actively in a variety of manufacturing industries since 1991 and is currently an Assistant Professor at Youngstown State University in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering.

Darrell R. Wallace, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Dept. of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
Youngstown State University
One University Plaza
Youngstown, Ohio 44555
Phone: 330-941-3272

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Enhancing Machine Safety Education Through the Use of Virtual Machinery


The responsibility for ensuring that manufacturing equipment complies with regulatory and safety requirements frequently falls to the manufacturing engineer. However, there is evidence to suggest that too many practicing engineers are without suitable training in the interpretation and application of safety codes, particularly with respect to machine guarding. Accident data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) suggest that many of the most serious machine related injuries could have been prevented by proper guarding. Studies have found that degreed engineers, many of whom have responsibility for machine safety, are either uneducated or poorly educated on the subject of machine guarding and safety standards.

A significant challenge to exploring machine guarding in the classroom is the inability to allow students to safely explore guarding problems in an independent and hands-on environment. First, Students are not necessarily qualified to operate such machines. Second, it is not advisable to create a laboratory environment in which students are allowed to operate and test machines that have been made deliberately unsafe (despite such machines being the most interesting from a safety standpoint). This paper suggests a possible approach to code compliance education that enhances classroom learning while providing a virtual reality environment within which to safely explore machines that are improperly guarded.

Demo3D is a three-dimensional modeling software that is marketed for its ability to characterize the performance of packaging and material handling systems. Faculty at Youngstown State University are exploring the possibility of adapting this software for use as a virtual reality environment for studying machine safety. This paper explores the opportunities of employing a physics-based 3-dimensional modeling package in concert with expert systems software to enhance students’ understanding of machine guarding, code compliance, and engineering ethics.


The manufacturing production workplace is dominated by machinery. That machinery is responsible for many of the most devastating workplace injuries that occur in the United States. Because of their specialized training, engineers who work in and with the manufacturing community have a particular responsibility to ensure the safety of the workplace, especially with regard to machines and guarding.

A 2006 study focused on the problem of accurately identifying machine hazards so that they could be eliminated. Using mechanical power presses as the test case, the study found that the majority of machine related injuries related to equipment were the result of improper application of existing laws and standards.1 It also found that many manufacturing professionals – including

Wallace, D. (2009, June), Enhancing Machine Safety Education Through The Use Of Virtual Machinery Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5547

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