A Pressing Matter: Safety solutions for an extrusion press line.

A Safety Remediation Case Study

Extrusion Press Line Safety Remediation

Designing, engineering, and implementing a new safety control system in a safety remediation project for a Hydro aluminum plant.

The Problem: Safety hazards need remediation

A plant in Yankton, SD, makes aluminum products owned by Hydro. At this plant, a large aluminum extrusion press takes various sized hot billets and presses the aluminum through a die. The pieces are then grabbed by pullers and placed onto conveyers. Next, the material is conveyed into stretchers, which straighten the material.

At an aluminum manufacturing plant, there’s plenty of safety accidents waiting to happen. Hot billets, giant presses, and whirring finishing saws: it’s not hard to see where someone could get hurt.

Hydro hired a company to do a safety assessment of their plant to find out how many dangerous areas need to be addressed. Hydro needed to mitigate more than 80 safety dangers.

Hydro needed an integrator to help them specify and design the right safety solutions for each of these safety dangers, and they needed this implementation done with as little downtime as possible.

The Solution: Safety Remediation with Concept Systems

We integrated PLCs to control a multitude of safety devices:

  • Safety light curtain sensors
    • Shut down that area of the line if anything passes through its beam of light. Once whatever blocked the light is moved, the line can be restarted
  • E-stop and reset buttons
  • Safety Doors
    • Autolocking and need a request to enter. Require motions to be fully stopped before a person is allowed through safety doors
    • RFID coded
  • Keyence Area scanners
    • Detects if there are people in dangerous areas that they should not be in
  • Safety HMI
    • Gives status of safety devices
    • Diagnostic status of safety system

After examination of the safety risk assessment, Concept Systems worked with Hydro to implement remediation of unsafe motions. If one of the safety devices implemented in an area detected a problem then all unsafe motions in that area are interrupted.

Global E-Stops

There were existing local E-Stops (emergency stops) for each area: the furnace area, the press area, the handling system, and the finishing saw. These E-Stops were converted to local stops and a new global E-Stop scheme was implemented. If anyone presses one of the global E-stops, it shuts down the entire extrusion line, while the local stops continue to shut down equipment in the immediate area.The solutions implemented work to keep employees out of the way of dangerous equipment.


Concept Systems collaborated with Hydro to provide all engineering services required to integrate the Functional Safety and Machine Safeguarding devices, identified and the Risk Assessments Hydro had performed. Concept Systems worked closely with Hydro to define, document, test, and verify all Safety Functionality.

Through our partnership approach, Concept Systems was able to deliver solutions that best met Hydro’s safety needs. We assisted Hydro with implementing safety controls.

Concept Systems implemented more than 80 safety contactors. Anything identified in the risk assessment that was identified as hazardous motion was mitigated. We disable corresponding devices –be it a motor or a PLC output –and we run the wiring through our safety contactors.

That way, when all of the safety controls in that area are satisfied, the safety contactors will remain closed which means power will not be interrupted to the machinery in the process. If a safety device is triggered, the corresponding contactors open and power is shut off to the device so that no one can get hurt.

The Results

Concept Systems has done more than five different safety remediation projects with Hydro. The Yankton project is the fifth in an ongoing partnership.

Hydro appreciated Concept System’s methodology, which facilitated for the project to be completed quickly with minimal downtime.

This safety remediation gave Hydro:

  • Diagnostic HMIs
  • Safer environment for employees
  • Allows for optimal performance level

Learn More About Our Automation Controls Capabilities

Project Details

Project Duration

2 Months


Client: 4 people

Concept Systems: 4 people

Technology Used

Rockwell Automation



Concept Systems Time on Site

2 Weeks