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Slideshow: Plant Safety Takes Center Stage in Factory Automation

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Rob Spiegel
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Re: Agree on Need for Simplicity
Rob Spiegel   2/23/2012 1:23:02 PM
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Looks that way, Apresher. This seems to match a trend I'm seeing in a lot of areas of automation and control. A lot of the complexity is programmed in by the supplier. More and more it seems control technology is plug and play. There seems to be less heavy lifting for the integrator and the plant techs. Devices and systems are getting more complex, while they're getting simpler for the end user.


apresher
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Agree on Need for Simplicity
apresher   2/23/2012 11:06:03 AM
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Absolutely, Rob, integrating safety more closely into the control software solution versus a separate system should produce solutions that are easier to implement and maintain. Needs to be simple and straightforward.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Software Developments
Rob Spiegel   2/17/2012 2:35:55 PM
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Yes, good points, Apresher. From what I hear, your last point is particularly important. Any implementation that is easy (relatively) and meets standards is looked on favorably. Plants want complex tools that don't require complex programming. Suppliers are getting good at adding complexity to the system without adding complexity for the end user.

apresher
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Software Developments
apresher   2/17/2012 8:55:25 AM
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A huge key moving forward could be continued innovation with software technologies such as the work being done by ODVA with CIP Safety, PROFIsafe and developments such as openSAFETY.  In addition to more powerful solutions, the emphasis on ease of implementation and driving toward more standards could really make a difference in this area.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Benefits and Security Implications
Rob Spiegel   2/15/2012 11:59:14 AM
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Yes, the suppliers seem to be way ahead of the game on this. They are very insistent that safety and control can share the same network without compromising safety. 

apresher
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Benefits and Security Implications
apresher   2/14/2012 5:01:35 PM
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Rob, Below is a link to a recent article from Siemens on the benefits and security implications of using wireless for safety. Not sure how they would answer the specific question you raise, although I suspect that key safety functions are always hard-wired as well.  Good question.

http://www.totallyintegratedautomation.com/2011/12/understanding-benefits-and-security-implications-of-using-wireless-for-safety/

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Safety
Rob Spiegel   2/14/2012 12:04:38 PM
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Yes, Apresher, I've heard about wireless safety as well. Is the reliability there? If it's safety it's critical, so reliability would have to be assured.

apresher
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Re: Safety
apresher   2/13/2012 5:12:37 PM
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Major automation suppliers already offering integrated software development tools for machine control, motion, HMIs are integrating safety as well.  It's part of their one controller, one network mantra.  More and more devices such as failsafe motor starters and drives are becoming available.  Another trend picking up speed is wireless safety. Especially in warehouses or distribution centers, and in material handling applications such as gantry systems, it is difficult and expensive to do all of the wiring required to integrate the safety systems. Mobile safety panels, using the wireless connection, provides the operator with a safety panel in their hands plus the ability to move around the machine.

apresher
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Re: Safety
apresher   2/13/2012 4:18:31 PM
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Major automation suppliers already offering integrated software development tools for machine control, motion, HMIs are integrating safety as well.  It's part of their one controller, one network mantra.  More and more devices such as failsafe motor starters and drives are becoming available.  Another trend picking up speed is wireless safety. Especially in warehouses or distribution centers, and in material handling applications such as gantry systems, it is difficult and expensive to do all of the wiring required to integrate the safety systems. Mobile safety panels, using the wireless connection, provides the operator with a safety panel in their hands plus the ability to move around the machine.

Rob Spiegel
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Re: Safety
Rob Spiegel   2/13/2012 2:23:32 PM
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Yes, that makes sense, Apresher. Are you seeing a greater acceptance of a blended safety and control network? If so, is it being driven by suppliers who are selling the advantages?

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