Most advanced machinery will rely on safety measures which will either take a physical form, such a safety guard, or control functions, such as emergency stop buttons. Both of which are required to ensure the safety of the operator and others within the premises.
Machinery which includes safety-related control functions must work in a way that ensures the machinery remains safe, whether operating normally or when a fault occurs, for example, we can install laser tripwires which automatically stop a machine if someone crosses it. A machines ability to deliver on these safety functions is known as ‘functional safety’.
Control systems may malfunction as a result of component failure, poor design or electrical interference. Since all the equipment that we design at Control Freaks is bespoke, it’s up to us to ensure that each machine we manufacture is capable of offering functional safety. Especially since machinery is becoming so much more advanced and moving into the likes of robotics and highly sophisticated software.
Machine Compliance Standards
The basic machine compliance standard which dictates the fundamental principles for safety control systems is “IEC 61508”, which features guidelines for the functional safety of electrical, electronic and programmable electronic safety-related systems.
These standards provide guidelines, for companies like us, to help us select the level of reliability required within the control system, the frequency of the exposure to the hazard and the possibility that this hazard may be avoidable.
Safety related controls are now integral to the design and function of most machinery, from the humble washing machine to the highly complex machinery we design here at Control Freaks. It’s down to us as designers to understand and apply the basic principles of functional safety to ensure we create machines that are safe and reliable.
If you require more information on this topic, then don’t hesitate to contact us today.