It’s been seven years since NFPA 79, 2002, the Electrical Standard for Industrial Machinery, first changed the world (in the US) allowing businesses the opportunity to utilize either hard-wired safety systems or implement integrated safety and automation systems. Now, seven years later, several new and updated standards open many more new options that were not allowed previously. Today we see safety functions being applied to safety PLC’s, safety drives, safe motion, and even safe wireless. But, with that said, many of the engineers out there don’t even know that they can do something different. They see the old redundant wired systems in the plant – that was the first paradigm shift in the early 1970’s when no one trusted those “newfangled PLCs”. In my opinion it’s time for that to change.
The new and updated regulations that allow integrated safety systems do more than just set you free from the hard wiring of relay logic. Because of the diagnostics capabilities in integrated safety systems, you can troubleshoot much faster reducing your maintenance costs and increasing uptime. Additional benefits include reduced workload on engineers and reducing needless delays in time to market. I can’t wait to see more companies talking about how they are ready to move away from their old costly safety layer and replace it with integrated safety that protects employees and actually improves the bottom line.
The new paradigm shift – “Safety Rejoins Automation“!
Posted by J.B. Titus
on October 22, 2009