If you still only view safety as a matter of compliance, you’re missing the bigger picture in the era of smart manufacturing.
Smart, networked safety can deliver measurable business benefits. And it can push the boundaries of what’s possible in your operations.
Low-voltage AC drives with integrated safety are a perfect example of what networked safety can do for you. When connected to a safety PLC over Ethernet, they can give you more insights into your operations, reduce system wiring and components, and add precious minutes back to production. And yes, they can also help you be compliant – and maybe even reduce safety risks.
To put these benefits in the context of the bottom line, here are five business cases for using AC drives with integrated safety:
1. Increased Productivity: Lockout/tagout (LOTO) has long been a core element of industrial safety. But it can also constrain productivity.
AC drives with integrated safety allow you to use safety functions in place of LOTO procedures in certain instances. Safety functions – like safe limited speed, safe torque off and safe brake control – can help workers service equipment in a fraction of the time and still be compliant.
Consider a task like cleaning augers and rotating drums. Using LOTO procedures, workers must continually start and stop the assets to clean them. Safety functions like safe limited speed and safe direction allow workers to clean the equipment while it rotates at a slow speed.
2. Enhanced Safety: Workers sometimes bypass LOTO procedures to stay productive. And that creates serious safety risks. AC drives with safety functions that allow workers to more quickly service machines can reduce incentives for bypassing safety procedures.
Also, safety functions can support passive safety systems to reduce risks for new workers. Passive safety systems perform functions with little or no worker effort required. This can help mitigate the risks of inexperience, such as workers placing their hands in hazardous areas.