Vern Hoppes, product safety engineer with John Deere, recently noted a seeming paradox about farm equipment and technology as he addressed the AEM Product Safety & Compliance Seminar in April.
“As products grow ever more efficient by way of technological advances, they also get far more complex, which in turn seems to be driving an even more complex and challenging regulatory and design standards environment to work in,” he says. “Along with this complexity is information which needs to be shared with the operators of equipment for them to realize these gains in productivity.”
Hoppes notes that the 2016 AEM conference put extra focus on how technical documentation is created and delivered to end-users.
“These new communications methods, such as smart device 'apps,' are simply astounding in what they can provide to product users, yet they have also created new challenges in accuracy and alignment with the information we are used to, such as an operator’s manual,” he says.
Meantime, AEM Chair Leif Magnusson urged members to keep safety front-of-mind, even though many operators may not worry about injury risk on a day-to-day basis.
“We must never take safety for granted,” he says.
AEM will continue to make products that are safe to both users and bystanders, according to Hoppes. And one way to do this is by focusing on industry standards, says Jason Hetcher, director of engineering at Super Products LLC.
“Developing standards helps our company and everyone in the industry by sharing best practices, which create the most effective safety standards,” he says. “The most important thing about standards is that everyone finishes their workday safely.”