SAFETY: Automated and accelerated machinery safety system design
Recent Western Cape Business News
Spurred by advancing technology and evolving industry standards, safety is moving from an afterthought to a central function of machinery designs. Safety is no longer an add-on. It is becoming a key element integrated early in the design process. In addition, the business case for machinery safety is well known among many end users, and many are embracing safety more formally every day.
As a result, equipment manufacturers are challenged to keep pace with the growing sophistication of safety automation technology. They need to know which safeguards are appropriate for different hazards. Safety systems – when designed and engineered to match contemporary high-performing machinery – involve highly complex functions. As a result, the design process itself can be a barrier to improving worker safety and minimising risk in a way that optimizes efficiency and boosts productivity.
In addition, designing a safety system often means navigating the ever-changing compliance landscape to determine what is required by local and international safety standards. OEMs have a responsibility to deliver machinery that is compliant with necessary regulations so end users can have confidence in the safety system. Determining which standards apply and what they require often adds confusion and lengthens the design process.
A set of time-consuming tasks can confront design engineers evaluating and selecting safety automation products. It can be an arduous process of printing out machinery layout drawings, drawing hard and movable guarding, and identifying potentially hazardous access points. Not to mention identifying required safety functions, selecting safety input, output and logic devices, and calculating the achieved system performance.
The results include handwritten lists of required materials, hand-drawn guarding solutions, and handwritten safety calculations transferred into formal documents, drawings and reports. Considering that OEMs are often challenged to differentiate themselves amidst global competition by using rapidly evolving technology to create innovation cheaper and faster, the typical safety design process seems too manual and cumbersome.
Rockwell Automation is addressing this challenge with two new tools that automate and accelerate best-in-class safety functionality. The tools use the most complete offering of safety automation products and expertise in easy-to-use applications to dramatically reduce the time it takes to confidently design and deliver compliant machinery safety systems.
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