Vita Dipl.-Ing. Wolf­gang DI W. Grassberger

Special Machine and Inter­natio­nal Plant Design

Simmering-Graz-Pauker AG, Vienna, Austria

SGP already delivered handling equipment for unloading its big hydraulic presses. As a spin-off, a department for so-called heavy robots was able to carter for the aubobile industry for a couple of years.

Right after graduation I got to know the intricacies of the SIMATIC S5-135 PLC. A handling robot twice per day got out of control and crashed into all conveyor belts within reach. I was able to identify a faulty rendevous between two kernels as the culprit. Semaphores for process coordination were then not widely known in automation.

What later on was to become functional safety, did not amount to more than an emergency stop circuit. A colleague of mine interconnected three relays with positively guided contacts into a novel self-checking combination.

For numeric control of our robot we made use of an American mini-computer. Its firmware update arrive by international mail as a spool of punched tape with five tracks of holes.

I led integration of machine tools with pick-and-place robots in Tiru­chirapalli, India.

Semperit Reifen AG, Traiskirchen, Austria

During those years all of passenger and truck tire production equipment was modernized, interestingly within historical heritage industrial buildings. I was in charge of the automation group with the "Technical Bureau" as it was then called.

Today these tire building machines could be called collaborative robots. Servo drives were purely analogue at that time. They did not feature any of the modern safety functions.

An axis could easily spin out of control upon loss of just one encoder phase.

In order to still protect workers I added several safety light curtains. We limited axis range mechanically, by means of a pneumatic cylinder. Instead of a safe stop 1 I shorted the DC intermediary bus. I had a small printed board custom-made for nulling speed and enabling signals.

For these efforts I received a certificate of recognition from the Austrian occupational insurer AUVA.

VMI Holland BV, Epe, Niederlande

Once having bent my head around American projection, as was a standard for mechanical design in the Netherlands, I took charge of an engineering group for half finished goods in the tire industry. I did dwelve into mechanical design and developed new sub assemblies for large hydraulic shears, intended for steel cord cutting.

Also I developed software for line controlaand travelled the world as product manager.

For a customer in Enschede, I devised interleaving safety curtains for a very large tractor tire building machine.

In order to prevent access to a fast sled driven by a powerfull rod-less pneumatic cylinder, my team designed hinged safety fences on a swivelling steel-cord let-off

HOBAS Engineering, Klagenfurt, Austria

During the course of several years I established a very competent department for mechanical and electrical design. As a company we sold and built turn-key plants for centrifugally-cast reinforced Polyester pipes all over the world. For myself I was responsible for such a project in Thailand.

I was honnored to receive the innovation reward of Carintha, province of Austria, for equipment designed to finish large-diameter pipes.

In addition to substantial mechanical hazards, production equipment for Polyester pipes consumes volatile organic solvants in exothermal polymerisation reactions, as well as organic peroxides.

I set the goal to obtain indepentent certifcation of all new production equipment from TÜV Munich, Germany. Under the tutelage of their well-versed experts we deployed several plants with explosion-proof pressure vessels for mixing. In other areas, dust explosions were a present threat.

I shall never forget how an inert sand silo almost burst during commissioning, inspite of all the prior effort to avoid chemical explosion.

Payr Engineering, Patergassen, Austria

Payr Engineering has customers in aerospace and semiconductor industries, but also in heavy machine building. My small research and development team invented solar panels, a valve for a fire extinguishing system, and a vacuum gripper for wafers.

For myself I provided consulting services in the area of electrical safety to several clients. For validation of a huge articulated stage in wind turbine assemply I conceived test procedures and protocols.

Multinational Enterprise

At present I am in charge of machine safety in the area of food production at a site close to Vienna. It's a priority to prevent injury from moving parts by inherently safe design, as well as by protective measures.

Another important responsibily are large gas-fuelled burner systems for Eurpean, American, Canadian and Australian markets.

For the rest I have also been appointed laser safety officer, as well as UL manufacturer's technical representative.

A few of these machines must also comply with ATEX and Pressure Equipment Directives.

In regular seminars I inform my colleages about basics as well as recent developments in machine safety standards and regulations. All of the company's many safety experts have regular on-line meetings for an exchange of experience, recent changes, and general coordination.

One current topic is isolation of equipment from power sources by means of functional safety, for the purpose of cleaning activities.

Article in Austromatisierung 1/2021 (German)

Confidentiality Imprint