Machine Safety: You can have both safety and productivity

Solutions can deliver machine safety and productivity. Safety automation delivers a viable option to cabling discrete electromechanical components for safety compliance. And, by eliminating the need for cabling, safety automation can now help improve productivity.


Safety automation for machine control graphic shows technology and reliability adoption over time, according to J.B. Titus. Courtesy: Control Engineering Machine Safety blogAfter years of machine safety being blamed for unexplained accidents and lost productivity we have finally achieved solutions capable of delivering both machine safety and productivity. Safety automation delivers a viable option to cabling discrete electromechanical components for safety compliance. And, by eliminating the need for cabling, safety automation can now help improve productivity.

If you have lived in industry for the past 40 years you would have witnessed the entire paradigm shift in machine control systems from "everything wired" to "cables safety." For machine control systems this is like comparing hot air balloons to Boeing’s "Dream Liner" for transportation. When speaking to industry colleagues I can easily see that less than 10% of a typical audience was working in industry in the 1960s. Most weren’t even born.  

Today, safety automation offers flexible scalable safety controllers and advanced communications incorporating field devices, wireless safe sensors, safe software, safe drives & motion and optoelectronics including light curtains, scanners and safe cameras. The impact on the architecture of a machine control system is a dramatic leaning out of the number and type of components like motor starters, contactors, safety relays, and resolvers. Eliminating these components also reduces their control reliable architecture design effort and related point to point wiring required to meet the redundancy demands for highly reliable safety functions.

As a result, in my opinion, safety automation offers greater reliability of safety functions over time and increased productivity because functions for the multiple devices above are integrated directly into safety certified devices. A main reason for greater productivity is that problematic intermittent failures of multiple components and their point to point wiring have been reduced significantly.

This is too logical, right? If this thought is holding you back just ask yourself, "why are practically all of the automation control and device manufacturers investing millions of dollars integrating safety functionality into their products?" There must be a market for them to generate a return on investement (ROI). Otherwise they wouldn't be investing.

Has this presented you with any new perspectives? Add your comments or thoughts to the discussion by submitting your ideas, experiences, and challenges in the comments section below.

Related articles:

Machine Safety – system degradation and incidence of injury.

Updating Minds About Machine Safety

Machine Safety – the myths of safety cultures.

Machine safety: Will applying OEE improve safety, compliance, and profits? 

Contact: for “Solutions for Machine Safety”.

No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Choosing controllers: PLCs, PACs, IPCs, DCS? What's best for your application?; Wireless trends; Design, integration; Manufacturing Day; Product Exclusive
Variable speed drives: Smooth, efficient, electrically quite motion control; Process control upgrades; Mobile intelligence; Product finalists: Vote now; Product Exclusives
Machine design tips: Pneumatic or electric; Software upgrades; Ethernet advantages; Additive manufacturing; Engineering Leaders; Product exclusives: PLC, HMI, IO
This article collection contains the 5 most referenced articles on improving the use of PID.
Learn how Industry 4.0 adds supply chain efficiency, optimizes pricing, improves quality, and more.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security