Machine Safety - Hardwired vs Integrated?

Since 2002, NFPA 79 took the lead for safety standards and eliminated the requirement that everything safety on a machine “shall be” hard wired.


J.B. Titus, machine safety bloggerSince 2002, NFPA 79 took the lead for safety standards and eliminated the requirement that everything safety on a machine “shall be” hard wired. Europe had already made the shift a few years earlier. So, with this paradigm shift for machine guarding the gates were opened for new safety technology specifically designed for and to be applied to machine safety applications.

In simple terms, machine safety was allowed to join and be fully integrated with the rest if the control technology in the architecture. Since 2002 we now have; safety PLC’s, safety drives, safe motion, safe CNC, safety networks, “intelligent” safety relays, safe wireless/cableless, and a host of safe devices such as – safe sensors, contactors, switches…..and more! The world for machine safety has dramatically opened up for opportunities in cost reduction and increased machine up time.


I’ve written several blogs and papers on this subject along with many fellow colleagues on this subject. However, I can’t recall anything written on the subject of when and under what circumstances should anyone consider converting their machine safety to full integration vs remaining hard wired.

A general guideline! It’s my opinion that someone on the supply side is in the best position to create a general guide to assist manufacturing through this process. For example, supply side companies like an OEM, a systems integrator, or an automation supplier In my years on the supply side I heard suggestions like:

  • If you have four or more safety devices on your machine
  • If you have six to eight safety point in your machine logic
  • If you need to frequently re-configure your machine for production runs
  • If you’re proceeding to update the machine control system.

I could add more....

Have any of you come across a document like this that you could share? This is one of the frequently asked questions from both small and medium sized companies.   

Submit your ideas, experiences, and challenges on this subject in the comments section below. Click on the following text if you don't see a comments box, then scroll down: Machine Safey – Hardwired vs Integrated?

Related articles:

How To Integrate Safety

Updating Minds About Machine Guarding

Integrated Machine Safety – or Not!

Machine safety pays off

Contact: for “Solutions for Machine Safety”.

No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2015 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Safety for 18 years, warehouse maintenance tips, Ethernet and the IIoT, GAMS 2016 recap
2016 Engineering Leaders Under 40; Future vision: Where is manufacturing headed?; Electrical distribution, redefined
Strategic outsourcing delivers efficiency; Sleeve bearing clearance; Causes of water hammer; Improve air quality; Maintenance safety; GAMS preview
SCADA at the junction, Managing risk through maintenance, Moving at the speed of data
Safety at every angle, Big Data's impact on operations, bridging the skills gap
The digital oilfield: Utilizing Big Data can yield big savings; Virtualization a real solution; Tracking SIS performance
Applying network redundancy; Overcoming loop tuning challenges; PID control and networks
Driving motor efficiency; Preventing arc flash in mission critical facilities; Integrating alternative power and existing electrical systems
Package boilers; Natural gas infrared heating; Thermal treasure; Standby generation; Natural gas supports green efforts

Annual Salary Survey

Before the calendar turned, 2016 already had the makings of a pivotal year for manufacturing, and for the world.

There were the big events for the year, including the United States as Partner Country at Hannover Messe in April and the 2016 International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago in September. There's also the matter of the U.S. presidential elections in November, which promise to shape policy in manufacturing for years to come.

But the year started with global economic turmoil, as a slowdown in Chinese manufacturing triggered a worldwide stock hiccup that sent values plummeting. The continued plunge in world oil prices has resulted in a slowdown in exploration and, by extension, the manufacture of exploration equipment.

Read more: 2015 Salary Survey

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.
This article collection contains several articles on the vital role of plant safety and offers advice on best practices.
This article collection contains several articles on the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and how it is transforming manufacturing.
This article collection contains several articles on strategic maintenance and understanding all the parts of your plant.
click me