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Machine safety, diagnostics and data security

01 February 2023

Personnel safety systems on machines are often seen as a necessary evil. To function correctly, a safety device has to be self-checking, which adds more complexity and costs compared to a non-safety device.

It does not enhance the machine’s performance and can stop production at any point, hence the “evil” label, despite having the very “good” function of protecting people from dangerous motion.

Once an emergency stop has occurred, assuming that there are no other emergencies to deal with, restarting production is usually the highest priority. 

Good diagnostic information is key to achieving this in the most efficient way. Gate interlocks and emergency stop buttons are normally the main problem area for diagnostics.

These are typically linked in series, on long chains. Whilst this reduces costs and simplifies installation, it makes identifying which E-stop has been pushed or which door has been opened difficult to find, as there are multiple devices connected to a single input. As the alternative is to wire each individual point back to an input, this is obviously very costly in wiring and inputs.

Read the full article in DPA's February issue

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