Customer report: Safexpert in the wood machinery industry

How HOMAG successfully uses Safexpert for its risk assessments and has implemented the software in its processes.

Successful migration from Word and Excel to the CE software „Safexpert“

Machine safety was and is a matter of course for HOMAG, the world market leader in woodworking machinery. The risk assessments required by law used to be prepared using Word and Excel. With the introduction of Safexpert, the awareness of "safety" in the design departments has been further raised and established as a process accompanying the design process - and that much more efficiently.


Key Facts

Initial situation:

  • For a long time, risk assessments were documented in Word and Excel - the application of these documents required extensive knowledge of standards on the part of the designers.
  • The modular structure of machines (basic machine + aggregates) requires different safeguarding variants - the mapping of these variants in the previous risk assessment documents were complicated and unpopular activities in the design departments
  • Due to the change of an important standard, the Word and Excel based copy templates were only of limited use anymore.

Change to Safexpert:

  • After a selection process, it became clear: Safexpert is the best tool for HOMAG. In addition to the software functions, the introduction was used to provide designers with more intensive training in the field of risk assessment.
  • The initial scepticism of colleagues ("yet another new tool") quickly changed into broad acceptance when the work simplification for designers became apparent.
  • Three things in particular have made the introduction of Safexpert at HOMAG a success:
    • Efficiency increase - risk assessment is now lived as part of the design process.
    • Updateness monitoring at the level of the safety measures means that it is always known which areas are affected by changes standards.
    • The central documentation of the safety-related solutions ensures that the know-how remains in the company even when employees leave.

From Word and Excel to Safexpert - HOMAG success report

For a long time, risk assessments and CE documentation were created with Microsoft Word and in the form of Excel tables. This was not always easy for designers, reports Andreas Hensel, Manager Systems Safety, at HOMAG:


„In order to find their way around the Word and Excel documents, the individual designers had to have sound knowledge and extensive standards expertise.“

As the functionality of the machines (modular machines consisting of a basic machine and units with various additional functions) increased, so did the complexity of the safety-related solutions. This made the work of the designers enormously more difficult. Lack of clarity in the risk assessment meant that the implementation was not particularly popular with the designers, Hensel recalls:

„Because the Word and Excel documents did not show clearly and comprehensibly what the danger areas, hazards and life phases were, everyone was happy when they had completed the risk assessment.“

However, the creation of documents in Word and Excel was - despite its not particularly popularity - well established in the company. Existing risk assessments were copied and adapted to new designs. This was possible because similar machines with similar risk areas were often built. However, a change in standards meant that the safety-related solutions had to be adapted - a good opportunity for HOMAG to give the process of risk assessment in the company a new lease of life:

„We decided to look for an improved solution that would help and relieve us in the future to carry out our risk assessments.“


Selection and introduction of Safexpert at HOMAG

One requirement for HOMAG was that the existing documentation processes could be retained, as these were already established within the company. Safexpert fulfilled this requirement. Andreas Hensel recalls:

„Safexpert should offer us the possibilities of being able to carry out our risk assessments clearly and systematically and to accompany the designers step by step.“

The coherent use of hazard points, hazards and life phases made the process steps much more comprehensible and easier to follow. Particularly important for HOMAG: By using the Safexpert NormManager, safety-related solutions could from now on be automatically monitored to ensure they were up to date.

Safexpert was introduced using real examples. This had the advantage that parallel to the introduction to the new tool, awareness and methodological competence for carrying out risk assessments could be trained and deepened.


How initial scepticism turned into broad acceptance

Initially there was a certain scepticism about the new software. The perception was that now a new tool had to be learned again, which had nothing to do with the actual design tasks. This scepticism, however, gave way surprisingly quickly to broad acceptance, Hensel recalls. The feedback from a design engineer is particularly well remembered:

„Since I have been doing the risk assessment with Safexpert, I also pay more attention to safety-relevant aspects when working with CAD.“

This and similar feedback confirmed the people responsible for introducing Safexpert:

„We were of course very pleased and proud to hear this statement, as it made it clear that we had achieved an increase in awareness and efficiency with the introduction of Safexpert.“

A further advantage for HOMAG was that know-how acquired in the course of risk assessments was now retained when employees left the company.

Conclusion by Andreas Hensel

Our previous processes for preparing risk assessments had to give way to more innovative and simpler solutions that would allow us to monitor the actuality of the standards applied. When we evaluated the software, it quickly became clear that there was only one supplier on the market who could meet our quality requirements.

In Safexpert we have not only found a tool that guides us step-by-step through the process when preparing our risk assessments and thus allows us to save costs, but also informs us by monitoring the up-to-dateness of the standards applied when a standard has changed that affects the current or future project.

Andreas Hensel
Manager Systems Safety

Company profile

The HOMAG Group is the world's leading provider of integrated solutions for production in the woodworking industry and woodworking shops. Its 14 specialized production sites, about 20 Group-owned sales and service companies and approximately 60 exclusive sales partners worldwide make the company a unique system provider. Backed by a workforce of some 6,600 employees the HOMAG Group offers its customers solutions for digitized production, based on digital data continuity from point of sale through the entire production process, combined with a comprehensive software suite. In addition, the open ecosystem "tapio" (open Internet-of-Things platform) maps the data flow along the entire value chain of the timber industry. The HOMAG Group has been majority-owned by the Dürr Group since October 2014.

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