I recently completed an interesting industrial system requiring a fair amount of safety logic because of its different zones. Here we’ll look at the three separate physical iterations (we actually purchased and wired the components), one theoretical (hindsight is 20/20, after all), and the manufacturer list prices of each.
The system used standard, common, dual-channel E-Stop buttons and guard switches. Each device also had an auxiliary contact used for PLC monitoring purposes. Initially, they daisy-chained into a single master safety relay: Push a button or open a guard door, and the master safety relay disables everything. The master relay fed into three secondary relay banks (left, center, and right). The secondary banks give zones of safety that don’t affect the others. The left and right banks each had a light curtain feeding into them (as well as the master signal from the switches and buttons). Thus, if a light curtain on the right were broken, the left side would continue to function.
The bill of material for this first logic iteration included:
- 1x Master Safety Relay
- 3x Configurable Safety Base Unit
- 5x Input Safety Modules
- 7x Output Safety Modules
The prime contractor then asked me to integrate its safety with ours (we shared a common danger zone, so this made a lot of sense). However, the prime contractor required the safety zones be broken out further: E-Stop buttons and guards reported through separate channels. I could no longer do this with a single-function safety relay, and had to exchange it for more of the modular devices as used in the secondary zones. That made sense; it meant simply using more of the common modules already in use.
This second iteration bill of materials removed the master safety relay and added these additional units to those already noted above:
- 1x Configurable Safety Base Unit
- 3x Input Safety Modules
- 5x Output Safety Modules
The total cost of this second bill of materials of 24 modules was $6,358.28.