The Convergence of Safety & ControlThe Convergence of Safety & Control
April 4, 2013
For the better part of the last decade, a vigorous and healthy debate has ensued over separate versus integrated safety and control systems. While the debate continues in some quarters, the de facto outcome is clear: Integrated safety is becoming predominant in automation strategies as these systems continue to converge. Technology has been the principal driver of this convergence as new products demand more advanced safety functionality, and others provide the means to deliver it.
Separate no more
Historically, safety and control systems were separate. Safety products were distinct units used to protect machine operators from hazardous motion, and principally safeguarded components were designed to allow a process to function safely. If any safety signals needed to get into the control system, they had to be hardwired into it -- there was no other way. Typically this was done to meet a specific and narrowly defined safety objective.
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