Drives and Control Solutions

Motors, Control Solutions, Power Transmission and Advanced Motion Technology                                                                 

December 3, 2019

by Linda Caron, Global Product Manager

As an engineer, the responsibility to adopt not just the latest, but the safest technologies, never goes away. Protecting people and machinery has become, quite simply, industry’s number one priority. Safety first. Always.

Factory automation is certainly no exception. Here, major advances have fuelled a greater focus on smarter controls and increased integration of smart devices and safety componentry. Included in this are the latest pneumatic solutions, which nowadays form a core part of safety controls for implementing the preventative technical measures needed to ensure machine safety, including clamping, blocking, exhausting and holding equipment in place.

But hold on a moment, what actually classifies a product as a safety component? Well, as with all things related to machine safety, the best place to find out is the Machinery Directive, which states that a product is deemed to be a safety component when it is tested and verified to provide a specific safe function for a pre-determined period of time in a given state. 

The Machinery Directive also offers a clear distinction between safety devices and standard pneumatic components deployed in a safety circuit. Notably, the term ‘safety component’ does not imply the actual reliability or safety level of the component. Those products offered as safety-rated must undergo stringent requirements for certification, testing, and approval. As a further point, the Machinery Directive does not prescribe the use of safety-rated componentry, it merely provides a description of the conformity assessment procedures to market a product as safety rated.

So, how is it best to determine what level of safety is required? The answer: perform a risk assessment. Three steps are involved here: analysis, evaluation, and reduction. The first step, risk analysis, also requires engineers to estimate risk and determine the performance level required (PLr). 

After the PLr is established the performance level (PL) will need to be calculated based on safety categories that are established in line with factors such as a measure of diagnostic capabilities (DC) for the control system, the meantime to dangerous failure (MTTFD) and common cause failure (CCF). In combination, these inputs will define the level of a given safety function.

In tandem with the strategy set out here, peace-of-mind can, of course, be found by specifying safety-rated products from a reputable supplier. After all, as machine builders will be well aware, the price of non-compliance can be extremely costly.

To discover more about Parker’s factory automation solutions, please see our guide "A Comprehensive Guide to Machine Safety".

Source


Editor's Pick: Featured Article


Condition Monitoring ABBBy Blake Marchand

Artur Rdzanek, ABB’s Mechanical Power Transmission Global Product Manager for Sensored Products, notes there are three core tenants to ABB AbilityTM sensors and remote monitoring systems: safety, extending system life, and significantly, or even completely, eliminating downtime.

From a safety perspective, the advantage is being able to gauge component health without having to be continuously around rotating equipment. The ability to monitor equipment remotely is particularly important when it comes to equipment that is difficult or dangerous to access.  Usability is at the core of sensors. 

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PB 26 Allied logo 400The fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0, builds off the computerization and digitization of previous shifts and employs artificial intelligence, IoT, cloud computing and remote dashboards that measure and monitor parameters and minute data points related to industrial operations.

Industry 4.0 offers endless possibilities as more production lines are designed and configured with quality sensors. Those who utilize the right sensors, in the right place, for the right amount of time should experience improved system maintenance.

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The 18th annual Motor & Drive Systems 2021 virtual program has been unveiled. Motor & Drive Systems 2021 will provide the best forum to learn from leading motor and drive system manufacturers...

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