Thanks, bobjengr. It seems like you engineers are maneuvering a minefield when it comes to safety, and it seems that any tools that can help are certainly useful and needed. The only thing I wonder is why something like this didn't come along sooner, as you note that safety has been a concern for a long time and something that's difficult to navigate, especially for new engineers.
Elizabeth--excellent post. I definitely will take a look at this software. As a "brand-spanking" new engineer, my first design attempt was somewhat devoid of guards, shields, barriers, etc. There were "pinch-points" galore. Please keep in mind this was long before OSHA. Published safety standard were few and far between also. Luckily enough, I reported to a very experienced engineer. One that dealt with reality on a daily basis and understood the probabilities of injury during manufacturing processes. Needless to say, the design changed considerably and for the better. Software as mentioned would have saved me the embarrassment and a significant "do-over". Again, great post.
Recent changes in the machinery directive and safety standards are making the process more complex for machinery builders. Any tools that can help in this process will be welcomed by system engineers and safety personnel.
To be clear - SISTEMA is software made by a company other htan Rockwell (IFA as noted in the article). Rockwell provides data on their products to the SISTEMA software in order to generate the SIL rating. It's a good way for a somewhat independent verification.
The fact that something like SISTEMA is necessary should say something about how complicated safety has become.
California State University, Chico was the first school in California to offer an ABET-accredited degree program in mechatronic engineering. Now its California Mechatronics Center works with industry on machinery, robotics, and surveillance vehicles.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.