An ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis, operating efficiencies and cost savings, as well as all relevant safety standards, such as those from NFPA, ANSI, RIA, IEC, ISO and OSHA. About J.B. Titus.
Functional Safety - A New "Mark" From UL
December 17, 2010
UL has added functional safety certification services. Automation suppliers, systems integrators, engineering firms, OEM’s, end-user’s, etc. all have something in common. Their management and design engineers now have a choice regarding the direction they take to obtain safety certifications for hardware and software based products intended for safety applications. One of the market leaders offering these services for the past several years has been the TUV organization. Since around 2002 TUV has been building a U.S. presence with very strong roots in Europe.
UL has historically been one of the market leaders in the U.S. for product certifications as required by various standards, requirements, and/or regulations. However, until recently, UL was not offering services to review, analyze, and certify hardware and software based products for safeguarding applications per the standards, requirements, and/or regulations. Check out the following link at UL’s web site for additional information if this is of interest to you:
This new service from UL, in my opinion, is both needed and confusing. It’s needed because competition is always good in a free market system because it will help drive quality improvements in the services as well reductions in time lines and the costs for these services. On the other hand, some suppliers and end users have already approached me for advice regarding what this means to them? They ask:
- Do I have to get safety certification marks from both TUV and UL?
- Is one of the two marks more important?
- If there’s an “incident” on my machine, will one mark be sufficient in arbitration?
- How do I determine which mark for my product?
- As an international supplier of safety products, do I need to invest in both marks for a given product?
In my opinion, we need to start a discussion on this subject to gather comments from across industry. Anything new always causes a stir in the market so let’s see if we can build a US “competitive advantage” around this one!
INTEGRATED SAFETY COULD BE YOUR OPPORTUNITY – CONSIDER IT!
As a side note – The 2011 updated NFPA 79, Electrical Standard for Industrial Machinery, was previously expected for release this month. The schedule was recently modified and the current expected release date is June, 2011.
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: Functional Safety – A New “Mark” From UL
Contact: www.jbtitus.com for “Solutions for Machine Safety”.
For more than 30 years, J.B. Titus has advised a wide range of clients on machine functional safety solutions, including Johnson + Johnson, Siemens, General Motors, Disney, Rockwell Automation, Bridgestone Firestone, and Samsung Heavy Industries. He holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Oklahoma University in industrial management and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University in marketing and finance. He is a professional member of the American Society of Safety Engineers and is OSHA-certified in machine guarding. Titus is also TUV-certified as a Functional Safety Expert and serves on several American National Standards Institute, National Fire Protection Association, and National Electrical Manufacturers Association national safety and health standards committees. Reach him at jb(at)jbtitus.com and via www.jbtitus.com.