The Logix Learning Series: Is Your Safety System’s Lifecycle Healthy?

Is Your Safety System’s Lifecycle Healthy?

Supersizing isn’t always the healthiest way to eat, nor is going on a hunger strike.

When applying this to your application’s safety requirements, neither approach is the best way to keep your control system at its optimal safe, healthy state. Too much can be cost-prohibitive and too little can leave your lifecycle open to all sorts of unhealthy risks!

Engineering your safety system to the “right-size” can help.

But what if you have already supersized your safety system and now find that it could be trimmed down?

Conversely, what if you’re not sure you have enough safeguards in place? Trying to create compliant designs and optimize those for cost and performance can be a daunting task.

The optimal health throughout your equipment’s lifecycle is key, especially when it comes to safety. Your system may need a checkup to get the right diagnosis. Moving to a more scalable, integrated safety solution may help.

There are many advantages to right-sizing your safety system. It helps mitigate the problem of spending too much to over-engineer a safety system that you may not really need, but gives you the safety your application requires. But, how do you choose the correct balance?

Know More about Safety Architecture

Podcast Episode One: Learn About the Safety Architecture of Your System

Your system’s safety architecture is built on two things.

  • Safety Performance Levels (PLr): determine the robustness of a safety circuit and range from “a” to “e,” where “e” is the most robust Performance Level.
  • Safety Integrity Levels (SIL): rate your architecture from SIL 1 to SIL 3, with SIL 3 being the most robust integrity level.

PLr and SIL are not created equal, so how do you know upon which to base your system? A risk assessment, or diagnosis, of the lifecycle of the equipment is key.

Know how to Calculate Safety Reaction Times

Podcast Episode Two: Learn About the Safety Reaction Time of Your System

These are the delays within the safety system. The safety distance calculation helps confirm that machines come to a safe stop before a person can reach the machine at the prescribed speed — and maintains that guarding, light curtains and cameras are placed at the correct distance.

Calculated incorrectly, the safe distance may be too large, leading to increased operator cycle times, increased equipment footprint and ergonomic load on operators. Even worse, if too short, it can increase risk of injury.

The correct safe distance can help to improve machine cycle times and reduce operator injuries. Imagine the benefits of a balanced, safe system? Instead of shutting down a machine when a human approaches, it can be slowed down, or its direction changed, to remove hazards, allowing work to continue.

Know How to use Integrated Drive Safety Functions

Podcast Episode Three: Learn About Integrated Drive Safety Functions

Using integrated drive safety functions, or instructions, can help your system meet specific performance criteria. This capability is changing the way people and machinery interact, giving designers the ability to leverage the strength of the machine combined with the flexibility and intelligence of the human.

This forms the basis of a whole new group of applications called collaborative applications.

When integrated into control and motion systems, pre-certified safety functions can help to simplify component selection, wiring design and test, save  on project costs, and can help improve safety compliance and improve overall system reliability.

Right-sizing your control system’s safety is the healthy answer.

Understanding and implementing safety architecture, safety reaction time and integrated drive safety functions into your safety designs can help to save costs, reduce operator injuries and improve overall system reliability.

The first step is a risk assessment to determine if your safety system can benefit from a healthier, safety lifecycle.

For more information, contact Julie Robinson or learn more about our machine safety solutions.

Julie Robinson
Posted October 25, 2017 By Julie Robinson, Marketing Manager - Logix, Rockwell Automation
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