News & events


Experts debate encoder safety: Will Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC affect encoder design?

1st Quarter 2009 News & events

Safety and Innovation were the themes at Kübler’s year-end Customer Days. Safety is especially topical this year because on 29 December 2009 the European Parliament’s Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC will come into force.

Time to act …

There is a growing trend for safety in automation, which is given top priority at management level within Kübler. Fritz Kübler made this point very clear in his welcoming speech, when he drew a comparison between the Safety Integrity Level ‘SIL’ in the field of automation and the routine safety precautions that are taken for granted today. He concluded, “Just as no-one today would think of driving a car without wearing a seatbelt or letting his child ride a bicycle without wearing a safety-helmet, then functional safety in an industrial environment will take hold and grow to become the accepted standard.”

Gerhard Bauer, managing director of BBH Products, a company that specialises in technical safety systems, also reminded guests again that “now is the time to act”. His speech clearly stressed one point: the new Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC from the European Parliament will come into force without fail on 29 December 2009. “Every business that is well advised will be preparing and planning for this.” This new directive reminds all manufacturers of plant and machinery (or of separately driven safety components) of their obligations. For Bauer one element is crucial for businesses, when it comes to keeping the costs and effort involved in these new tests and approvals manageable: “It is all a matter of finding the right partner!” He was emphatic in pointing out that good advice not only keeps costs in check, but also eliminates unnecessary measures and action-taking right from the start.

Will Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC motivate manufacturers to increase or decrease the level of complexity in encoders?
Will Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC motivate manufacturers to increase or decrease the level of complexity in encoders?

… in three steps.

According to Bauer, three vital steps should be observed when implementing any safety project:

1. First of all it is important to have the right support when selecting the functional safety system configuration and in the validation process. Qualified manufacturers of components, which in turn are suitable for functional safety applications, come into consideration here.

2. Only logic controllers that have been tested in accordance with Appendix IV of the Machinery Directive, or alternatively centralised or decentralised controls with integrated safety functions according to DIN EN 61800-5-2, should be used. The manufacturer himself determines the necessary values for validation according to DIN EN 13849.

3. If, moreover, only such components are used, which for their part are suitable for functional safety systems, then nothing more stands in the way of a safe new system and its approval.

Safety is a 4-level system

‘SIL’ – the much cited Safety Integrity Level – classifies the safety-related performance or reliability of electronic or electrical control systems fundamentally into four levels. With SIL the so-called safety-chain stands in the foreground of the assessment – this is also known as the SIF ‘Safety Instrumented Function’. Behind this lies simply the functional combination of controller, actuator and sensor. Once the decision has been made to develop the functional safety to the latest levels of technology, the question often arises, “When and how should I sensibly introduce the existing standards?”

Continued on the web

For the complete article visit www.motioncontrol.co.za/+091Q09

For more information contact Rodney Topham, RET Automation, +27 (0)11 453 2468, [email protected], www.retautomation.com



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