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Integrate Control and Safety and Unlock Hidden Potential
Protecting people, work-in-progress and equipment.
Machine designers and manufacturers have an awesome responsibility: keep operators safe and keep production flowing. In increasingly automated environments, maintaining safety and productivity is more challenging than ever before.
The growing use and complexity of automation is why so many of our customers are opting to integrate control and safety.
The socially-distanced factory is now part of the new normal.
There’s another reason why companies are jumping on the integrated control and safety band wagon: COVID-19. Supply chain gaps, social distancing and employee protection has accelerated industry-wide efforts to automate more and more production processes. Pervasive automation requires an even greater focus on safety for workers who interface with and control automated systems. The more complex the automation is, the more challenging the safety becomes.
Thanks to advances in technology, however, companies can now:
Integrating control and safety onto the same network:
Instead of simple “go” or “no go” controls, operators have more sophisticated safety controls that allow them to respond to problems in a more intelligent way. They can actually segment or separate discrete parts of the process. For example, if one part of the process is having an issue, rather than shut the whole machine down in an uncontrolled way, operators can bring the problem section to a stop with a predefined safe speed. This allows for quicker machine startup one the problem is fixed and reduces wear and tear on the mechanical system.
Operators can also adjust other sections of the process individually, commanding upstream and downstream machines to:
This more granular control reduces the impact of a single down machine on the overall process. In addition, since all components are on the same network, operators can easily pull detailed status/alarm data from devices. This data can be served up to the HMI, SCADA, BMS or even an email to the maintenance team to further reduce downtime.
Of course, there will always be a place for traditional standalone e-stop and safety relay circuits. But in highly automated environments, integrated control and safety is the future of machine design. It keeps operators safe, which should always be the main concern. It also keeps machines safe. Machines that can run in a safe-state, even during normal operation, can be protected from mechanical or electrical damage. This is no small thing.
Integrating safety leads to revolutionary new benefits that deliver ongoing value.
Ongoing value beyond safety
In addition to preventing machines from being damaged or destroyed, integrated safety and control also:
Integrating control and safety also increases overall productivity. Designing safety into machines improves:
Finally, when safety travels on the network, valuable data can be collected, analyzed and used to provide a safer and more efficient environment. There is no data when you hard wire safety.
Rather than something that is added once equipment is in place, safety is built-in to every component during machine design.
Safety by design
When it comes to machine design, safety shouldn’t be an afterthought. It should not be something that is added once the production equipment is in place. Rather, comprehensive safety should be built into every component from the beginning to reduce risk upfront and avoid accidents and litigation later.
Smarter, connected components with improved processing power and advanced communication capabilities can create more intelligent systems that allow you to attain ongoing safety and productivity. What should a total safety solution include?
Look for an integrated safety controller that delivers functionally safe machines on one platform, over one network, using one software, while maintaining functional separation between control and safety. Even though there are independent controllers for process and safety control, both should:
When the main process and safety functions are physically separated at the controller level but integrated at the network level, information can be shared for greater visibility and rapid problem resolution.
A total safety solution should also include:
These essential safety functions enable collaborative human-machine operation.
Built in versus bolted on.
When safety is built-in up-front instead of bolted on after the fact, machines can be designed with safe operation as a foundation for streamlined implementation and enhanced safety on and around machines. Functional safety at the machine level that can also tie into the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) network and allow for more:
While the fully integrated approach can cost more than basic safety devices, the cost is offset by the higher installation and maintenance costs of basic safety components.
As you’ve just learned, there are significant and ongoing benefits for companies who integrate control and safety. If you’d like to protect your people, your works-in-progress and your equipment, check out our on-demand webcast.
Product Manager (PLC/IPC)
Senior Product Manager (PLC/IPC/HMI)
Global Strategic Advisor
Sr. Product Marketing Engineer (Servo/Motion)
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