1660601803995 Af14safetybook

Simpler Safety = Successful Safety

Nov. 20, 2014
Safety That's Easier to Understand Is More Likely to Be Successfully Applied.
About Jim Montague
Jim Montague is the Executive Editor at Control, Control Design and Industrial Networking magazines. Jim has spent the last 13 years as an editor and brings a wealth of automation and controls knowledge to the position. For the past eight years, Jim worked at Reed Business Information as News Editor for Control Engineering magazine. Jim has a BA in English from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, and lives in Skokie, Illinois.

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Rockwell Automation is simplifying its safety solutions, components, safety design software and documentation so users can adopt them and achieve their safety benefits more easily.

If safety is easier to understand and apply, then it's more likely it will get used and successfully applied to protect people, assets and productivity. This was the plain truth and effective logic behind the product launches and upgrades presented in the Safety Solutions exhibit at Automation Fair 2014 this week at the Anaheim Convention Center in California.

The exhibit focused on four main product releases and supporting developments—all designed to assist and simplify the safety design and adoption efforts of machine builders, integrators and end users. For example, last year's release of Armor GuardLogix was followed by this week's launch of:

  • Armor Safety I/O and standard on-machine safety components
  • PowerFlex 527 AC drives and Kinetix 5500 servo drives, which can now perform CIP standard-based safety functions over Ethernet, saving space and precluding the use of electromechanical relays
  • Allen-Bradley 450L light curtains, which allow users to buy one stick, use an insertable tab to assign it to serve as a transmitter or receiver, and achieve dramatic savings on inventory
  • Guardmaster 440C-CR30 software configurable safety relays, now in their eighth release; Ethernet capable, simpler to wire to standard I/O devices and can be programmed using  Connected Components Workbench software
  • Expanded design tools, such as Safety Automation Builder software, which is now available in 16 languages, as well as a new series of safety function documents, which give users free, step-by-step instructions on implementing a variety of safety hardware and software.

"It's important to understand that it isn't the safety devices that make a machine, production line or process application safe—it's how the system is designed that makes its safe." Steve Ludwig of Rockwell Automation on the company's recent efforts to make its safety systems simpler to use and apply.

"The theme of our exhibit is simplifying safety and especially enabling on-machine safety, but this also means downsizing the footprint of safety components, which also makes safety easier to do," said Steven Ludwig, program manager of safety solutions at Rockwell Automation. "It's important to understand that it isn't the safety devices that make a machine, production line or process application safe—it's how the system is designed that makes its safe, and then how it fits into an overall safety lifecycle. For instance, our Safety Automation Builder software can provide a graphical drawing of a user's system, show operator access points, present appropriate products and solutions, and perform calculations to make sure they align with SISTEMA recommendations.

SISTEMA refers to "Safety Integrity Software Tool for the Evaluation of Machine Applications," a methodology for helping builders learn and perform ISO 13849-1s calculations. It was developed and is offered by the German Social Accident Insurance organization's Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and enables developers and testers of safety-related machine controls to evaluate safety in the context of ISO 13849-1. However, it can be difficult for many builders and other users to employ. Ludwig reports that Safety Automation Builder gives users a head start on aligning their solutions with SISTEMA and its recommendations.

Similarly, Ludwig reported that the seventh release of CR-30 safety relay this past March contains improved software and an easier configuration process. "This software matches up documents, is password-protected and walks users through a checklist, which makes configuration easier and more accurate," explained Ludwig. "Release 7 also has an automatic reporting feature that gives users printed documents and a memory module that stores configurations and allows them to be used in multiple devices."

About the Author

Jim Montague | Executive Editor

Jim Montague is executive editor of Control. 

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