Machine Safety and Wireless Devices

Conventional machine safety has been challenged for the last 10 years with new technology and standards. Safety automation has led the new technology pack while NFPA 79 took the lead on the standards side. Both combined in 2002 to introduce safety PLCs, safety fieldbus, and e-stops on a safety rated bus. The latest challenge to conventional safety is wireless (aka cableless) innovation impacting devices, fieldbus technology, and machine control applications. Are we ready?

06/16/2011


JB Titus, CFSEConventional machine safety has been challenged for the last ten years with new technology and standards. Safety automation has led the new technology pack while NFPA 79 took the lead on the standards side. Both combined in 2002 to introduce safety PLCs, safety fieldbus, and e-stops on a safety rated bus. The latest challenge to conventional safety is wireless (aka cableless) innovation impacting devices, fieldbus technology, and machine control applications. Are we ready?

     Innovation of technology most often drives the changes to industrial standards. Therefore, I can think of several new technologies evolving into machine control and machine safety.

- Wireless fieldbus technology

- Wireless/cableless operator control panels

- Wireless sensors

- Wireless remote I/O

- Wireless remote control

- WirelessHART, and

- Wireless switches… to name a few.

    Who has any idea how these technologies will directly or indirectly impact machine safety?

     Some of the industry standards have already changed or updated their language to allow and in some cases provide specific required steps that “shall” be followed when applying these technologies for safety applications. Some of these technologies are even safety rated by NRTLs (Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories) like TUV or UL to various SIL and/or Performance Levels.

     In my opinion, the direct impacts on machine safety should be less worrisome because we deal with direct impacts every day on the shop floor. It’s the indirect impacts that most often surprise everyone and almost every surprise is dangerous. The book says to identify all hazards via a risk assessment and to mitigate the hazards to acceptable levels.

     So, is the risk assessment considered as key to the proper application of these technologies?

     Let’s hear your ideas?

     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 Safety and Wireless Devices.

     Did you see the Safety Integration Webcast?

     Related articles:

Designing In Machine Guarding   

Fieldbus Foundation brings more information through HSE with Wireless and Remote I/O

Contact: www.jbtitus.com 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...
2016 Product of the Year; Diagnose bearing failures; Asset performance management; Testing dust collector performance measures
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
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