Machine Safety - A Review of 2010 Developments

Machine Safety topics have covered the gamut throughout 2010 from regulations and industry standards to new compliance tools and innovative technology. The challenge to industry throughout 2010 has been to...


J.B. Titus, machine safety bloggerMachine Safety topics have covered the gamut throughout this year as the ever evolving landscape of machine safety has developed. We’ve discussed the regulatory side and industry standards which are trying to keep up with the rapid advancement and innovation in machine safety solutions utilizing hardware and software technology.

There have been starts and stops with the European Machinery Directive and international standards which both directly and indirectly affect machine design and machine safety applications in the US. These considerations influence global solutions and the pace of adoption of new compliance tools such as PL (performance level) vs Cat (category) for hazard level determination.

We’ve also learned about the importance of B10 values for the simple devices in a safety application circuit and how they can impact the performance level for functional safety.

Other machine safety product developments this year have included advancements in wireless (cableless) safety technology and applications, wireless devices such as temperature and pressure sensors, safe IP67 remote I/O blocks, and advancements in safe drives and safe motion, to mention a few. In my opinion, all of these changes are rapid given the history of machine safety advancements over the past thirty to forty years. The challenge to industry throughout 2010 has been to understand these developments and to determine their impact on the company’s safety culture. Although, this has been a challenging year for machine safety, it’s also been a year to discover that these same developments offer some the opportunity to reduce cost and improve productivity – A Competitive Advantage!



As a side note – The 2011 updated NFPA 79, Electrical Standard for Industrial Machinery, was previously expected for release this month. The 2011 NFPA 79 schedule was recently modified and the current expected release date is June, 2011.  

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