Functional Safety: A New Look

Wednesday, August 1, 2012 @ 05:08 PM gHale


By Christopher T.F. Hale
Over the past decade, functional safety has become increasingly important for the requirements of operating machinery.

Compliance to the basic functional safety standards, IEC 61508, EN/ISO 13849, and IEC 62061, are necessary to operate with optimum functional safety.

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“Functional safety has been around a while, but has been instantiated in the machinery directive in Europe as part of the new approach that has been around since 1892,” said Joseph Lender, senior functional safety engineer of TUV Rheinland North America during the Siemens-sponsored webinar “Functional Safety: A Discussion of Standards and the Machinery Directive”.

Functional safety is the detection of a potentially dangerous condition resulting in the activation of a protective or corrective device or mechanism to prevent hazardous events arising or providing mitigation to reduce the hazardous event.

The objective of functional safety is to reduce the risk of injury to people and to machinery, while still being able to produce product that meet necessary requirements and standards.

The webinar addressed topics and coordinated a discussion toward the Machinery Directive and the standards for Functional Safety.

The safety system standards described in the presentation were IEC 61508, EN/ISO 13849, and IEC 62061. The presentation focused more on the standards of functional safety, rather than the machinery directive, but still addressed a few topics dealing with the directive.

“What the machinery directive does is it establishes the essential requirements that are to be followed to generate machinery so it is not harmful to the environment,” Lender said.

Other areas addressed during the webinar included an introduction to functional safety of electric, electronic and programmable systems and understanding the safety philosophy of operating under the safety systems IEC 61508, EN/ISO 13849, and IEC 62061.

Click here to view the webinar in its entirety.



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