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Building a Bridge to Safety
In machine automation, one of the primary objectives is the eﬃcient and ﬂexible integration of safety functions. Every automation system is different, but similar safety solutions are effective when comparing equally scaled applications. For small-scale applications, simple-to-conﬁgure safety relays are usually better suited, whereas large-scale applications usually employ highly integrated and networked fail-safe PLCs. A new approach encompassing both flexible and easy network communications would bridge these two solutions and support machine builders during the realization of an efficient, networked safety solution without the need for a full fail-safe PLC.
This paper examines the benefits and shortfalls of both safety PLCs and configurable safety relays. It also examines a new way of handling safety in industrial automation, "SafetyBridge" technology.
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