Growing demand for programmable safety systems spurs growth

Natick, MA—The market for programmable safety systems is growing at a much faster rate than originally anticipated, according to recent research by Venture Development Corp. (VDC).


Natick, MA— The market for programmable safety systems is growing at a much faster rate than originally anticipated, according to recent research by Venture Development Corp. (VDC). In fact, VDC projects that the overall market will grow 46.9% between 2003 and 2006 because of recent changes in design and implementation processes that have increased demand for program-mable safety systems. VDC study reports that the following types of automatic machine safeguarding products used in U.S. markets will likely grow by the following percentages from 2003 to 2006:

  • Programmable safety systems 46.9%

  • DIN-rail packaged 13.3%

  • Metal box packaged 7.7%

Safety controllers/modules/relays:

  • Electromechanical and pneumatic 11.1%

  • Ergonometric 14.3%

Two-hand safety controls:

  • Emergency stop palm button safety controls 9.4%

  • Optoelectronic devices (single and multi-beam) 12.4%

  • Mats 9.5%

  • Light curtains 11.3%

  • Laser scanners 16.9%

  • Edges 11.8%

Electronic safety sensors:

  • Automatic safety barriers 9.2%

In interviews with automation suppliers, VDC learned that this surge has been predominantly driven by three developing trends:

Safety standards
Countries in Europe started developing machine safety standards long before North America. Because the European community is further advanced, this region has significant influence regarding the migration toward uniform international machine safety regulations, including IEC 61508 and EN 954.

120 V ac versus 24 V dc
Historically North America has used 120 V ac power. However, the same global influences that have affected standards have proliferated the use of 24 V dc power in safety automation equipment. As a result, opportunities for safety automation vendors could multiply as customers look to either retrofit or replace existing systems.

Safety bus networks
Industries are increasingly realizing the value and cost savings of implementing safety bus networks in manufacturing processes. For instance, European automotive OEMs, such as Volkswagen and BMW, have installed digital safety networks in an effort to reduce costs of robot installations. Contrary to hardwired safety systems that employ mechanical relays, safety bus networks digitally monitor the status of safety equipment through software platforms.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor

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