Product Liability and Safety
Reassessment of internal regulations for product safety in all business segments is encouraged to ensure compliance with international standards for machinery safety. This practice serves to promote consistent risk assessment at design stages and implementation of risk reduction measures appropriate to the magnitude of the risks discovered.
Paralleling these reassessment activities, we hold information meetings on machinery safety and risk assessment seminars so that the idea of product safety is firmly planted in the minds of everyone involved in design operations and meticulously put into practice.
|A||ISO2100||Safety of machinery - General principles for design - Risk assessment and risk reduction|
|B||ISO13849-1||Safety of machinery - Safety-related parts of control systems - Part 1: General principles for design|
|IEC62061||Safety of machinery - Functional safety of electrical, electronic and programmable electronic control systems|
|IEC60204-1||Safety of machinery - Electrical equipment of machines - Part 1: General requirements|
|IEC61000-6-4||Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) - Part 6-4: Generic standards - Emission standard for industrial environments|
|IEC61000-6-2||Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) - Part 6-2: Generic standards - Immunity for industrial environments|
|C||ISO10218-1||Robots and robotic devices - Safety requirements for industrial robots - Part 1: Robots|
Motorcycle & Engine Company
In pursuit of safety and that “fun-to-ride, ease-of-riding” feeling
Senior Staff Officer, Product
Planning Department, Research & Development Division,
Motorcycle & Engine Company
The most crucial feature of motorcycles is its ability to perform reliably—to run, to turn and to stop. Motorcycles, unlike cars, are not selfsupporting unless in motion and the risk of tipping over is always present. It is therefore important to have good control of the machine in all aspects of operation. That said, cornering—when the rider leans hard into a turn and, at a glance, the body of the motorcycle appears at a precarious angle to the road surface—and speed control through acceleration and deceleration, which differs from the approach used by cars to change speed, are distinctive to motorcycles and what allow riders to truly enjoy the riding experience.
In the area of motorcycles for leisure use, which is Kawasaki’s area of expertise, we pursue product development designed to meet seemingly conflicting requirements, that is, providing motorcycles that create a fun-to-ride, ease-of-riding feeling while giving due care to safety. Let me describe a few noteworthy products below.
The Ninja ZX-14R, the flagship Kawasaki model, boasts our most advanced engine management system— Kawasaki TRaction Control, or KTRC—which combines two systems: one to help maintain optimum traction for acceleration and the other that facilitates smooth riding even on slippery surfaces. Riders can choose from three modes, or they may elect to turn the system off, allowing them to achieve control matched to their own level of riding skill.
The 1400GTR, a tourer model for riders who go on lots of long-distance road trips, is equipped with the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). A drop in tire air pressure could lead to poor handling and stability or other issues. TPMS continuously measures the pressure—if the sensors detect a significant decrease in tire air pressure, an indicator appears on the instrument panel, immediately alerting the rider to the situation.
The Ninja 400, a popular model in the Japan market, has an instrument panel that combines an analog tachometer with a digital speedometer integrated into a multi-function LCD. Considering features that would allow riders to concentrate on their riding, we used white LEDs in the backlight for excellent visibility, even at night.
We installed an anti-lock braking system into the Ninja 250—an extremely popular model worldwide, with the Ninja 300—, and it was the first Kawasaki model in the 250cc-class to get the system that prevents the wheels from locking up when the brakes are applied and avoids uncontrolled skidding for obviously more stable handling. We also used the world’s smallest, technologically advanced control unit, which makes finer hydraulic pressure control possible, so kickback to the brake lever during operation is minimal, resulting in a very natural feeling.
As in the car industry, technological advances in the motorcycle industry continue without end. New technologies appear in a steady stream to be incorporated into engine and chassis designs. As elsewhere, here in the Motorcycle & Engine Company, we consider safety factors as we strive to develop products that fully satisfy riders’ appetite for a “fun-to-ride, ease-ofriding” experience.
Rolling Stock Company
Rolling Stock Crash Safety
Rolling Stock Company
Rail is a public transit system that offers excellent punctuality and safety and is also friendly to the global environment.
The Rolling Stock Company delivers rolling stock that meets the full range of needs to customers around the world, playing an important role in the provision of public transit services.
Improvement of rolling stock safety is a responsibility of this role. Specifically, further enhancement of safety in the event of a crash is a priority for our customers in the rail industry and society as a whole. Based on the scenario of a collision with an automobile at a railroad crossing, or a collision between two trains, the task is to control the way each rail car body ”crushes” at the time of impact to protect the passenger compartment and enhance customer and driver safety.
With automobiles, the usual approach is to carry out a crash test using an actual vehicle, but since rolling stock is much larger in size and weight, a crash test using an actual rail car would be a major undertaking and is therefore impractical in terms of cost and time. Accordingly, numerical simulation is the main method used when verifying the crash safety of the many different types of rail car. This makes it essential to develop the relevant technology and ensure its accuracy.
To evaluate safety during a crash, we start with the impact-absorbing elements at the level of the individual parts and materials and continue through to the elements that affect the behavior of the entire rail car as well as the entire train, building upon component technologies step by step to assess the safety of the entire rail car.
Numerical simulations along with verification tests that use an actual physical unit of each component are the drivers of improvement in crash safety verification technology. Numerical simulations backed up by verification tests make it possible to assess the crash safety of rail cars. In 1999, the Rolling Stock Company carried out a test in which an actual rail car designed for overseas export was crashed into a wall. The simulation and the test results showed a very high degree of consistency. As a result, we received the Best Paper Award in the Rail Transportation Division from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. The Rolling Stock Company was the first Japanese rail car manufacturer to tackle the issue of crash safety, and is proud of having steadily built up the relevant technologies through tireless efforts in R&D.
In the development of high-speed rolling stock for Japan and overseas markets, we supplement the crash safety technologies and the knowledge and experience of the Rolling Stock Company through application of crash safety technologies developed by other companies. These are used, for instance, to design the obstacle deflector for the front car of a train or to create car body structures that enhance operability for the driver while providing protection from potential dangers such as bird strikes.
Going forward, we are committed to continuing with our dedicated efforts that will rapidly achieve the improvement in rolling stock safety that society wishes to see.
Verification of Safety in the Event of a Crash
Plant &Infrastructure Company
Chemical Plant &Cryogenic Storage
System Engineering Division
Plant &Infrastructure Company
One way to assess safety based on plant design is to use HAZOP (Hazard and Operability Studies). We applied HAZOP to a fertilizer plant project to ascertain safety.
The HAZOP exercise brought together the parties involved in the project—the customer, the provider of fertilizer manufacturing technology and KHI—to 1) identify areas of possible safety issues, 2) analyze the hazardous events that would occur in the areas and look into their causes, and 3) formulate safeguards and necessary improvements to prevent such hazardous situations from arising, but if they were to occur, to avert an actual accident, on the assumption that operations deviated considerably from normal, in such areas as flow rate, pressure and temperature. This hypothetical scenario enabled us to reduce risk to a permissible level.
Specifically, we suggested a safety device that brings the plant to an emergency stop when pressure rises in the fertilizer synthesis equipment, a safety device that stops the compressor in an emergency, when the compressor inlet pressure drops, and a warning display to prevent an excess drop in pump pressure when the tank water level decreases due to manual valve mishandling by the operator. We thus identified possible hazards at an early stage and verified the status of safety from a design perspective and confirmed the need for improvements.
Through HAZOP, we were able to raise awareness of safety design and implemented approaches to reduce risk by addressing concerns in the actual plant design.
Precision Machinery Company/ Robot Business Division
As illustrated above, international standards for machinery safety* comprise a three-level structure: Basic Safety Standards (A), Generic Safety Standards (B) and Machine Safety Standards (C). If we take industrial robots as an example, once a design satisfies established safety criteria for Machine Safety Standards, a risk assessment is performed in accordance with Basic Safety Standards.
At this point, the following three steps are taken to reduce risk to a permissible level:
- Identify hazards that occur during the robot’s life cycle.
- Evaluate risk stemming from each identified hazard.
- Reduce risk to the permissible level.
When a control system is used to reduce risk, design reliability—that is, careful attention to safety functions and performance—based on Generic Safety Standards for control systems is essential for meeting safety performance appropriate to risk level. For example, risk can be reduced with safety devices, such as an emergency stop switch that immediately shuts down a robot, a safety switch that maintains safety during teaching—method for creating the program that industrial robots require to execute operations—and a mode selector switch that changes operating mode. To achieve safety performance in robots, safety circuits are duplicated and highly reliable parts are used. In addition, failure mode analysis is run to verify safety performance.
We provide classes on design and risk assessment pursuant to these international standards and strive to raise awareness of safety design. We also take steps to reduce risk by reflecting on the design of existing products.