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AMF…Please do something!


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  • AMF…Please do something!

    How many more mechanics must make the ultimate sacrifice before something is done for those that do not always follow “all” recommended safety guidelines? Many mechanics take great pride in their abilities and believe that customer service is achieved by minimal down time when a problem occurs, thus ignoring “some” of your safety procedures. I have warned many mechanics (over and over) and written them up because of improper safety practices. However, if I fired every mechanic that violated proper safety measures, there wouldn’t be anyone in this field.

    Most of us know that you have set procedures for safety when entering a machine, yet history of deaths and injuries has shown that more things can be done to make your machinery safer for those that believe that time is money and customer service is number one. The fact that you have a beep beep sound and a time delay (for your new pinspotters only) when a machine is turned on (that warns the mechanic, danger is present) is a step in the right direction. However, something needs to be done about a known problem of a mechanic being trapped in-between the table and bin!!!!

    A simple device could be engineered that “could” save someone’s life !!! From what I understand, such a device already exists and marketed as a parts saver. Why not produce this product and maybe improve it (with a disclaimer of course) and sold at your cost to entice proprietors to purchase it? Since such a device “may” have saved Toby Williams life in your own establishment….I feel that all of your houses should be equipped with this product at your own cost.


  • #2
    Re: AMF…Please do something!


    After studying the GM’s account of what happened the device you suggest wouldn’t have
    changed the outcome of this accident.

    In my opinion the table was not under power when he reached in between the table and bin, the table motor Klixon had already kicked out cutting power to the motor.

    What happened was when he hit the jammed pin knocking it free the table jumped upwards because of the tables counter balance springs trapping him. If my account is wrong I would like the centers GM to set me straight.

    Triac: don’t blame the manufactures of the equipment for mistakes made by the mechanic,
    I’ve been a mechanic since 1952 so I feel I have a little knowledge of how the equipment operates.

    Yes we want to give the customer the best & quickest service we can, however not at the expense of the employee working one the equipment. Our safety should be the main concern when we’re working. Having a machine problem is not a life or death matter for the customer so be smart and take a second to access the problem before jumping into the equipment.

    The manufactures try to educate bowling center employees on safety but do we always listen or even pay attention to what they say, the answer is NO.

    Please: everyone pay attention to what the equipment is doing, Know what the equipment will do next and what will happened when you do what ever you might do to fix the malfunction.

    I use the term equipment because the pin setting machine in not the only item in a center that cause serious harm if we don’t pay attention to what we are doing.


    The Old Guy


    • #3
      Re: AMF…Please do something!

      Old Guy,

      With all due respect…. I feel such a device “may” have saved Toby’s life. I do not have your expertise as I have only been an AMF tech for 32 years. In order for the KX to pop, the bin would have had to be maxed out (with Toby being in-between the table and bin). The time it takes for the KX to do its job was to long as it takes a lot of excessive amps over a short period of time for this to happen.

      A switch on the bin would have blacked out the machine long before the bin was maxed out and the KX detected an overload. This would have created a lot less pressure on Toby’s body (and may have saved his life) because the bin would have never been maxed out and his body would only been supporting the weight of the bin instead of the pressure of the motor constantly crushing him until the KX did its job. .




      • #4
        Re: AMF…Please do something!

        Originally posted by old guy:

        After studying the GM’s account of what happened the device you suggest wouldn’t have
        changed the outcome of this accident.

        In my opinion the table was not under power when he reached in between the table and bin, the table motor Klixon had already kicked out cutting power to the motor.

        What happened was when he hit the jammed pin knocking it free the table jumped upwards because of the tables counter balance springs trapping him. If my account is wrong I would like the centers GM to set me straight.

        The Old Guy
        <font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Question...If the power was already cut, and these counter balance springs are under enough pressure to crush someone to death...what would have been the way to remove the pin?

        &quot;Hey, barkeep, whose leg do you have to hump to get a dry martini around here?&quot;


        • #5
          Re: AMF…Please do something!

          On a serious note, the bin switch idea does have a few questions.

          In order for the switch to be activated, i.e. closed, you are suggesting that the bin be lifted up by lets say 1/4 inch?
          So for example if a person was unfortunately caught in between the table and the bin, the person is still trapped, in that position. It may not be that beneficial?

          Perhaps if it alerted a manager by page or text for example that this situation had arisen, perhaps that might be of some benefit to the injured party, and may help reduce the time that the individual is trapped for?? This is mere speculation, and may not be of any benefit.

          I completely understand what Triac is saying! It takes a lot to trip a Klixton in my centre anyway! (I am not taking sides here as have not read the full article so do not know exactly what happened) Perhaps with the switch a body may be able to survive or push upward on the bin to give some room!?

          In this day and age you could easily manufacture a device with a micro-switch which, through a wireless system, would contact a senior staff member to come to the rescue.

          My vision of bowling machines is one that wireless control will inevitably be integrated to the machine for safety, trouble shooting and even remote feed back to the machine, ie perform a cycle or reverse a sweep!

          Perhaps even a wrist band with an emergancy button on it?? This could alert a senior member of staff to come to your aid!

          The other day I noticed a bin support bracket the wrong way round.( the bracket which rests the bin on the machine frame) I removed the support and unfortunately dropped both the bolts that attach it to the machine frame. So I was stuck holding the bin in my hands with no way of escape, without doing some serious damage to the machine. (table was in spotting at the time) Luckily enough it was an end lane, and there was a pile of patching beside the machine, so I rigged a "get out of jail free" strut enabling me to escape and grab some more bolts to secure the bracket to the bin so it can rest on the machine.

          The point is that if I had a remote device, I could have alerted someone to my situation and if I was not so lucky, may have been stuck holding the bin like an idiot for a very long time!!
          Bring me the freshest "Mean Green" known to man! Juice on!


          • #7
            Re: AMF…Please do something!

            I'm very sorry these things happen... but there's not much that can be done after the fact.

            It still comes down to looking after your safety first at all times. You can have all the safety devices you want, and you could STILL get injured or killed if you're not careful, don't follow proper procedure, or don't USE the safety devices.

            We've all done it: "ahhh, it's just a quick fix, in and out... no need to lock out anything. It'll take me longer to shut it down than it will to fix it."... 99.9% of the time, you go in and out without incident... but that .1% comes along sooner or later, something happens, and before you know it, you're in a bad situation. Accidents strike like a cobra... before you know it, and before you can avoid it, it's got you.

            In regards to the procedure used for a pin jammed between the table and bin, our policy was to drop the sweep, shut down the machine, Pull RS, then crank the table motor backwards until the pin can be released without fighting the table springs AND the cup springs. I'm lucky to have long enough arms that I can reach over the table without having to get between the table and bin.

            It's no different in any industry that uses "dangerous" machinery. Recently a guy was nearly killed on a construction site... doing a very simple PM operation on a backho. He went to check some lines at the front of the machine that required the bucket arms to be up out of the way. Anyone familiar with these machines should be well aware that there is a special rod or rods that are mounted to the side of the machine's primary lifts, PRECISELY for this type of situation. You raise the bucket, and swing the arm into place, then lower the bucket down until it stops. The bucket is now mechanically locked into the raised position, and does not rely on the hydraulics to remain that way. You guessed it... he did not have the bucket locked. Machine stalled, pump stopped, a check valve did not close... boom... a ton and a half of hinged steel was now resting on this guy's back.

            It takes about TEN SECONDS to lock the boom into the raised position! This guy nearly lost his life over TEN SECONDS of nearly effortless work. Probably he's done it before, and never had a problem... but just one freak set of circumstances comes along, and nearly killed him.

            Our business is no different. I don't expect a machine company to make a completely foolproof machine... it's simply not possible. I expect them to make a reliable, reasonably safe piece of equipment, and provide proper procedure to avoid injury. After this machine passes codes, UL listings, and whatever else, then beyond that it's up to the people who operate it and work on it to be knowledgeable of the dangers, know the proper procedures, and put safety first.

            It's no different than why you don't cross the road 10 feet in front of a fast moving car... you KNOW the danger, and you consciously avoid it. Following safety procedures is no different... you KNOW there's a danger, and you take steps to prevent it.

            In regards to the above... the same idea of using a swing-up locking arm on a backhoe could probably be adapted to an AMF machine... a pivoting rod that's attached to the upper frame, that can be swung down without going into the 'danger zone' to do so... blocking the table from moving upward until it is removed. The arms that lift the table on an 82/70, and the arms that lift the front bucket of a backhoe are surprisingly similar.
            <span style="font-style: italic">Educatio est omnium efficacissima forma rebellionis</span>


            • #8
              Re: AMF…Please do something!

              Hi all,

              Maybe its just me, but i think that there is an irony that triac is so devoted to safety, then you see his avatar!!!!! Talk about a workplace safety issue there!!!

              This is supposed to be fun, so please don't think that i am trying to laugh at safety issues. It sucks that it seems to always take a death for something to be done


              • #9
                Re: AMF…Please do something!

                I'm going to try not to start a firestorm, as feelings will surely run high on a subject like this one, but I'll give you the world as I see it.

                Even if AMF were to design a safety mechanism for the machine, it would only make newly shipped machines safe. Unlike the FAA, which can ground an aircraft until modifications it insists on are done, OSHA lacks the authority to mandate installation of such a device.

                Even if such a device were mandated, it would be poor judgement on a mechanic's part to trust that the device would do its job in the event it was required.

                Two examples: The deck jam switch on old brunswicks has a tendency to become sticky, and unless you maintain your switches and boots, the machine may fail to turn off in the event of a deck jam. If that were to happen, the result is a busted 1/1. The owner and mechanic are pissed, costs one money, give the other a bitch of a job he'd really rather not have to do. For a setup that would be designed the same as your bin shutoff setup would be. In this case, busted parts instead of a casualty, but the same idea just to highlight the danger of relying on a safety mechanism (that doesn't exist yet and can't be mandated) to take the place of good safety practices.

                Second example, a man-killer that exists on "B" machines (specifically model A's with the overtravel still operating). When on second ball, the only thing holding up the deck is the hook. It was first day material that you DON'T go under one when it's on second ball

                Don't focus on the machine. FOCUS ON KEEPING YOURSELF SAFE The machine is not unsafe, it's taking shortcuts that's unsafe

                With all due respect to the thread started by "the old guy", this was another case where the accident was totally preventable.

                Either switch off the table motor, unplug the table motor, or unplug the R/S, and he's still here to talk about another PITA table jam. If it means you have to crank the table down, OFW. It doesn't take that long. DEAD is forever


                • #10
                  Re: AMF…Please do something!

                  I kinda like them French Fried Taters, mmmm-hmmm.


                  • #11
                    Re: AMF…Please do something!

                    If we go back and study what the GM said about this accident there wasn’t anyone or any switch that could have changed the out come. Please read his statement again, “Toby was clearing a pin jam on an 82-70 pinspotter. It was a routine call and seemed to be going fine. The table moved up a bit and stopped. After just a few moments of inactivity, something didn't seem right. I ran to the back and found Toby pinned between the table and bin. A tab on a spotting cup had instantly crushed his airway and medical personnel felt that his death took only seconds”.

                    I’d like to say that since none of us were there we can only speculate as what might have happened but 2 things stand out in the GM’s statement, one being Toby was answering a call, to me this means that the bowlers see the sweep down, Time passes, they contact the front desk saying there was a problem with the machine, Time passes, the front desk pages the backend saying there was a sweep down on a certain lane, Time passes while Toby gets to the machine. This would mean that a minute or 2 has passed since the bowlers noticed the sweep down.

                    In those 2 minutes the table motor Klixon would have kicked and Toby would have found a machine with the sweep at 270 and the table partial up with a pin jammed between either a cup or yoke and the bin, in this type of call normally a pin is standing up and jammed tightly against the bin which has been raised up to it’s max and the table counter balance springs with some pressure on them because the table has downward pressure on it.

                    The proper way to clear this type of jam is to crank the table until the jam is cleared, then reach in and remove the pin.

                    To answer Chipman, yes in my opinion once the pin jam was cleared by pulling or hitting the jammed pin until it was free the counter balance springs could have moved the table up enough to cause the damage to Toby’s airway.

                    It should be noted that the GM at this center was one of us, he’s been in the business since 1972 and was a mechanic on Brunswick A’s and A2’s, so he's not just a desk jocky.

                    My intent in my postings on this sad subject was to create thought and dialog among my fellow mechanics to bring safety to the forefront, it appears I’ve done that, it doesn’t matter if you agree or disagree with me just keep thinking safety and look before you jump.

                    Thanks for reading

                    The Old Guy


                    • #12
                      Re: AMF…Please do something!

                      How about a system like this:

                      1. Table gets jammed
                      2. Machine automatically reverses direction of the table to relieve stress or unjam the object.
                      3. Machine turns off and interlocks trip free.
                      4. Mechanic REMOVES POWER in an appropriate fashion.
                      5. Mechanic clears jam.
                      6. Mechanic restores power.
                      7. Mechanic resets interlocks.
                      8. Mechanic turns machine back on.

                      Something like this where the machine runs the table backwards for a jam between the bin and table would not be that difficult. Also, I know of blackout kits on A2s that require the Circuit Breaker on the Electrical Box to be opened and then shut in order to restore power. This type of electrical interlock is extremely important, and helps to protect mechanics when we become complacent.


                      • #13
                        Re: AMF…Please do something!

                        Old Guy,

                        Thanks for the input, Yes, I have seen and cleared pins in the table jammed against the bin that were under pressure. And from the same info I read from his center management here in the forum that suggest that this may have been the case where metal was in a sprung and stored kinetic energy condition.

                        A motor crank to relieve the kinetic enegy stored by the table might have been the only answer, however, Mr. Williams most likely saw this as another pin jammed in the table and not the booby-trap it turned out to be.

                        I too feel sorrow for Mr. Williams, his family and friends. God bless them all.
                        Dr. James Bandy,D.D. HCLS
                        <a href="" target="_blank"><a href="" target="_blank"><a href="" target="_blank"><a href="" target="_blank"><a href="" target="_blank"><a href="" target="_blank"><a href="" target="_blank"><a href="" target="_blank"><a href="" target="_blank"></a></a></a></a></a></a></a></a></a>


                        • #14
                          Re: AMF…Please do something!

                          Why not just design a better pin grabbing device? Something like a set of fingers on a pole you can stick in a machine and clear jams. Probably a silly idea, but I use it when pulling things out of the storage room and it has saved me from several avalanches. I know very little about 82-70's but does the same danger exist on 82-90's? On the A-2 machines there seem to be a lot of ways you can hurt yourself, and as a new owner of a pair any particularly dangerous areas are appreciated. There's no place to crank one of those beasts, and that 1HP motor and gearbox seem to have a lot of potential torque. That said it seemed to be very easy to dissassemble the machines and safe with power off.
                          Old and obsolete? It's new to me!


                          • #15
                            Re: AMF…Please do something!

                            the one thing i've never seen anybody mention after somebody got squished on a 70, was there cotter pins, nails, spacers in the front posts of the bin? keeping it from coming off front posts? the other thing i've seen done is the rear bin support bolted to the frame!
                            was the distributor support bar (suicide bar)still right behind the table or was it moved back! one thing that might help keep somebody from getting squished between table&amp;bin is if rear bin support brackets were longer so bin could raise higher. how many of you still have the suicide bars behind the table?
                            if things aren't going right just use a bigger hammer! DIRT


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