Automation & Motion Control

Integrated Safety Moves Beyond Outlier Status

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Rob Spiegel
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Integrated safety networks are becoming accepted
Rob Spiegel   6/23/2011 12:37:43 PM
Integrated safety has come a long way to acceptance in just the last few years. The city/state separation between safety and motion control has broken down, which frees plant managers to deploy more efficient systems.

Sgt Rock
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Safety Acceptance
Sgt Rock   6/23/2011 6:55:46 PM
I agree that the use of integrated safety systems is gaining both acceptance and use but I believe that it is still in it's infancy. This concept is a true blessing to both the manufacturer and the end user. Unfortunately I also believe that this causes a great deal confusion for that end user when they move towards implementation. Most of the confusion is caused during the interpretation of the safety statutes and regulations. This results from the differing expectations of the many governmental agencies involved. As an industry we need to work together and push for standardized regulations which ideally would include the many wonderful concepts and innovations listed in the article. Why is it acceptable in one country to have an e-stop located inside a safety enclosure; say, for a robotic palletizer, but it's not okay here in the USA. Agreeably I don't think it makes good sense to have it located there, but again there needs to be an industry wide push for standardization so that we can take advantage of these tools. 

Jack Rupert, PE
User Rank
Re: Safety Acceptance
Jack Rupert, PE   6/28/2011 3:28:12 PM
I agree with you 100% Sgt Rock.  We not only need industry wide standards we need a common understanding (training?) on what those standards are.  I've been in a number of situations where a customer will quote some version of a safety standard as mandatory but have no clue what it means or what options are to be included.

Rob Spiegel
User Rank
Re: Safety Acceptance
Rob Spiegel   6/30/2011 6:11:08 PM
Yes, and there is also a lot of confusion about what integrated safety actually means. Is it on the same cable, but separate? That's a common solution. Run it on the same bus, but it is actually separate from control. That gives you efficiency while you still get church/state separation. The big vendors are now offering true integration of safety and control. Apparently that allows for more diagnostics and even greater efficiency. For some control engineers, however, this makes the hair on the back of the neck stand up.

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