IDEM: Safety Switches Survive Even the Harshest Conditions
Imagine a work environment so severe that even machines have a tough time surviving. No, this is not a scene from a science fiction movie. In many industries, certain operations require extreme heat or cold or harsh chemicals to complete processing and packaging. This is a reality where only the strong survive.
It is in these brutal conditions where IDEM’s safety switches excel. For years, IDEM has produced safety switches that can withstand the harshest environments and still be relied upon to monitor safety issues keeping workers and other machinery out of harm’s way.
IDEM Safety Switches, Ltd. was created in 2003 by Medi Motsaham when the company he was working for decided to move its operations to Poland and the Dominican Republic. As Head of Research and Development for EJA/GuardMaster, Motsaham designed and developed the popular GuardMaster brand products. With 18 years of technical director experience at EJA/GuardMaster (then Rockwell Automation when the company was acquired), Motsaham chose to leave Rockwell Automation’s GuardMaster operation to establish his own machine safety switch business with the hope of eventually reemploying many of the personnel who would be left behind when Rockwell moved.
“IDEM is my baby,” said Medi Motsaham. “I knew the abilities of the people who had dedicated themselves to the GuardMaster operation would now be left behind with no future and no job. That made my decision to start IDEM much easier knowing that these skills and knowledge were available and I could reemploy these people over time as IDEM grew. Even though IDEM is growing every year, I still get a great feeling knowing that I have been able to give my colleagues a future and I still love to see people coming back who we used to work with. Today, more than 80% of IDEM employees were previously employed at GuardMaster.”
In 1985, at the beginning of his career, Motsaham took a semi-skilled machine operator position at a local company called Nelsa Engineering which was a part of the EJA Group. The work he was involved in included the production of machine guards for small machine tools. After just six months on the job, Motsaham was promoted and moved to sister company GuardMaster (EJA). It was there that he was able to put his engineering degree to good use as his knowledge helped improve the business. GuardMaster was created to design and manufacture machine safety products and in 1986, Motsaham was tasked with creating the research and development (R&D) function and overseeing the engineering workshop. It was during this initial period that Motsaham commenced designing products such as Trojan putting the company on the path toward growth. The company grew quickly due to the speed of its ability to design and manufacture new products for a fast-moving marketplace which was now demanding more machine safety switch devices with added functionality. This rapid growth quickly led GuardMaster/EJA to becoming one of the largest players in the global market for machine safety switches.
This success attracted the attention of Rockwell Automation which acquired EJA in 1998. Very soon after the acquisition, Motsaham was appointed a Director of R&D for the Safety Division at Rockwell. There, he further developed the company’s reputation in global machine safety. Rockwell’s decision in 2002 to move the manufacturing base out of the U.K. brought about Motsaham’s decision to strike out on his own with IDEM.
Today, IDEM employs 42 full-time workers and maintains its headquarters in the Hindley Green area of the U.K. The company has also opened a United States location in California to support the company’s distributors and customers in the U.S. But the heart of the operation remains in the U.K. where Motsaham has purchased the original GuardMaster facility and created not only a manufacturing operation with sales, marketing and distribution but a state-of-the-art R&D lab as well. “We have come full circle,” said Motsaham. “Our people are right back where they started but now with a world class center of excellence for the design and manufacture of our products.”
It’s in this new location that IDEM’s IP69K testing facility designs, creates, and tests safety switches to withstand the harshest manufacturing environments. Some the most extreme conditions exist in the food processing/packaging, pharmaceutical, and petro-chemical industries. This presented an initial challenge for IDEM that resulted in the company developing a range of stainless steel switches which would become the world’s largest range of Stainless Steel 316 Machine Safety Switches. With added features and functionality food machinery manufacturers and other industries could now maintain needed safety within these demanding environments. IDEM’s Stainless Steel 316 Machine Guard Interlock switches protect personnel and equipment against application problems such as water, aggressive cleaning agents, and chemicals under high pressure and temperature that can form a vicious combination penetrating almost any housing and causing electrical circuits to fail.
Motsaham explains: “Our knowledge and expertise developed over many years has resulted in numerous inventions, providing the ideal solutions for the human-machine environment. IDEM offers the most comprehensive range of Safety ‘Grab Wire’ Rope switches in the world.” In addition, IDEM has developed various safety switch models that cover all applications and industry sectors from factory automation to external mining applications.
Specifically, IDEM designs and manufacturers:
- Safety Interlock Switches
- Monitoring Devices
- Machine Sensors
- Rope Safety Switches
- Machine Safety Switches
- Rfid Switches
- Safety Relays
Creating the types of safety switches to withstand such conditions falls to the ingenuity of the IDEM staff. “Our people make the difference,” said Motsaham. “Their knowledge, experience, belief, and commitment within the machine safety industry can’t be matched by any competitor. Their understanding of the problems and issues from back in the early days of machine safety has enabled us to ‘engineer out’ these problems and deliver the ‘next generation’ of devices. We offer innovative products while maintaining compliance with the latest standards and approvals.”
Looking to the future, Motsaham sees safety continuing to grow globally as health and safety within the workplace has made major advances throughout the world. “Organizations see the benefits from automation and safety,” explained Motsaham. “Not only in protecting their workers from serious injury but also in preventing interruptions to manufacturing processes.” As the global marketplace continues to reach for higher safety standards it will gravitate toward companies with a proven track record of providing machine safety devices with reliability, durability, and the latest features. In this new global marketplace, only the strongest companies, like IDEM and its products, will survive.