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Digital demands of functional safety

03 February 2021

In the machine industry, the significance of functional safety has grown continuously as a result of advancing digitalisation.

The increasing connectivity of systems and plants, plus the growing possibilities of remote control, has seen a paradigm shift away from the prevention of access and reliable shutdown of machines to the reliable identification of people and continued operation. 

For example, due to the growing trend of people collaboratively working with robots, both possible damage events and the safety-related parts of control systems have become more complex.

The main requirement for complex semiconductors, that are used in functionally safe embedded systems, is a high degree of miniaturisation with the goal of reducing area and cost. Furthermore, modern design requires compatibility, reusability and embedded safety features. The challenges in this domain are short innovation cycles, a high degree of design complexity and increasing integration density.

These aspects have a massive impact on the assessment of device functional safety, especially as new fault models caused by new technologies must be considered. This is particularly the case for Systems-on-Chip (SoC), where dependent faults have to be evaluated, and already known failure modes – such as transient failures – take on increased relevance in the context of integration of smaller structures.

In addition, adequate verification approaches, which show the effectiveness of safety measures, must be developed. Due to massively increasing system complexity, a high-quality development and lifecycle process is therefore required to ensure a low level of systematic faults. 

Read the full article in the February issue of DPA.

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