The fault does not compromise safety in any way. It doesn’t always reset, but it always performs its safety function. I can’t even blame the manufacturer for its business decision not to upgrade the firmware. The decision makes financial sense on their side. You can hear the BUT coming, can’t you? The reset fault was discovered and documented by the manufacturer fully 12 months before I purchased the hardware. The decision to not implement a fix of the firmware and instead concentrate on the new product line was made six months before I purchased the safety relay hardware.
Why then, did the manufacturer continue to sell (and still sell) a product with a known defect? A representative told me the module is used in the standard product lines of quite a number of OEMs, and that discontinuing the defective module would cause them a lot of grief. I wonder how many machines out there need a circuit breaker cycled from time to time to reset that funky module?
I suppose I could see this manufacturer continuing sales for that reason, but really, shouldn’t there be a decent warning? Either a notification when the order is placed (a red flag in the manufacturer’s order entry system to let the buyer know), or how about a warning label on the box, or an insert with the installation instructions? To the manufacturer’s credit, if you use the right search terms you can find the warning on its technical support site. But how many engineers have the time to search technical support Websites for potential defects of all the components in a design before you place the order? For complex devices like servo drives or VFDs, there could be hundreds of articles in the support database. To my mind, that’s not an option.
To the manufacturer’s very good credit, it offered to replace the entire safety relay bank (24 modules) with the new generation’s models. I am out the time to do the actual work and wiring, but ultimately the end user gets a terrific system with reliable safety components.
On the one hand, the manufacturer in question behaved in a somewhat irresponsible manner, and did not act with full integrity with the initial decision to not fix the problem. On the other hand, the manufacturer did step up, without being asked, to replace the entire safety relay bank. But that is not enough, in my view, to repair the damage to both its reputation and mine.
The decision to not make the fix made (short-term) financial sense, but in the long run, will it still be the right financial decision?