Machine Safety: Are you farming out the designing in of functional safety component requirements?

Functional safety is supposed to be designed into machine design, but is it being farmed out for others to do? Are automation suppliers truly considering farming out the design and safety certification effort of integrating functional safety features into existing components? See four strategies and one caution.

06/06/2013


With all the chatter on the internet and in the media a new subject arises regarding functional safety. Are automation suppliers truly considering farming out the design and safety certification effort of integrating functional safety features into existing components?

Well, it seems that there are some engineering firms which are specializing in this capability and offering these services to various automation suppliers. This strategy appears to be partly based on various factors:

1. Market demand has increased for automation products with functional safety features. For example, drive systems with safe stop, safe torque off, etc.  safety functionality built in.

2. Time to market can be shortened by utilizing experienced qualified engineering firms to provide these services.

3. Automation companies typically incur incremental costs to grow specialized internal safety certified organizational know-how to perform these services.

4. Increased market demand comes from an increasing awareness of reduced life cycle costs of ownership through “safety automation” versus hardwired safety applications.

You probably say, "Great stuff!" Right?

Caution: Don’t be too quick to run to the bank. As an end user, just because your favorite automation supplier quickly brought you a safety certified component doesn’t necessarily mean they’re capable of full service to you as their customer. Farming out the design and certification effort is only one spoke in the wheel of resources required by automation suppliers to support their safety automation products. To mention a few; they will also need pre-sales support, post sale service support and training support. You wouldn’t want to phone your automation supplier’s 24 hour hot line only to be transferred to their engineering firm sub contractor (for functional safety) to then leave a voice message. After all, reducing unplanned machine downtime was supposed to be part of your return-on-investment decision. 

So, you might want to ask your favorite automation supplier a few questions related to the topics above before deciding.

Has this presented you with any new perspectives? Add your comments or thoughts to the discussion by submitting your ideas, experiences, and challenges in the comments section below.

J.B. Titus, CFSE

Related articles:

Inside Machines: Does adopting ISO 13849-1:2006 change the U.S. model for compliance and enforcement?

Machine safety: Incorporating functional safety as part of your machine safety plan, Part 4

Machine safety and functional safety: Which type?

Machine Safety: functional safety and the steps to be compliant in the US.

Contact: http://www.jbtitus.com for “Solutions for Machine Safety”.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Leaders Under 40 program features outstanding young people who are making a difference in manufacturing. View the 2013 Leaders here.
The new control room: It's got all the bells and whistles - and alarms, too; Remote maintenance; Specifying VFDs
2014 forecast issue: To serve and to manufacture - Veterans will bring skill and discipline to the plant floor if we can find a way to get them there.
2013 Top Plant: Lincoln Electric Company, Cleveland, Ohio
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Plant Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Bring focus to PLC programming: 5 things to avoid in putting your system together; Managing the DCS upgrade; PLM upgrade: a step-by-step approach
Balancing the bagging triangle; PID tuning improves process efficiency; Standardizing control room HMIs
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software

Annual Salary Survey

Participate in the 2013 Salary Survey

In a year when manufacturing continued to lead the economic rebound, it makes sense that plant manager bonuses rebounded. Plant Engineering’s annual Salary Survey shows both wages and bonuses rose in 2012 after a retreat the year before.

Average salary across all job titles for plant floor management rose 3.5% to $95,446, and bonus compensation jumped to $15,162, a 4.2% increase from the 2010 level and double the 2011 total, which showed a sharp drop in bonus.

2012 Salary Survey Analysis

2012 Salary Survey Results

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.