Industrial machines’ Safety: digitization to support the operators

Digitalizzazione-per-la-sicurezza-industriale

The Functional Safety of an industrial machinery’s safety control circuits is an aspect that must be considered during the entire machinery’s life cycle, as clearly pointed out by the international reference standards, IEC 62061 and the ISO 13849-1.

Therefore, to ensure that a machine maintains the adequate level of Functional Safety over time it’s not enough that it has been adequately designed, implemented and put into service, even if it has been defined considering the related risks.  It’s also fundamental the contribution by the operators, that is not limited to the observance of the “how to use” instructions defined by the manufacturer.

Risks for the industrial machines’ end users

The maintenance of the safety systems’ reliability on board the machinery is the first important aspect to be considered. The suppliers of security solutions acquire the data associated with these devices (depending on the case the values ​​of MTTFD, PFHD, B10D, λ, SFF, …) in order to calculate the Performance Level (or Safety Integrity Level) concerning the safety control systems for the different managed functions.

However, these functional safety values ​​from the devices are analyzed considering the specific operating range of the component (defined as “life cycle” and characterized by parameters such as “TM” or “T1MAX” or “T10D”).

In order to guarantee the declared level of reliability without unacceptable degradation, each safety device must be replaced or, whether possible, brought back in “as new” condition, at latest at the end of its life cycle.

Sicurezza-delle-macchine-industriali

On the other hand, it’s usual that a machine doesn’t have diagnostic systems that allow the end user to correctly track these data.  The risk is that the end user, without been aware about the achievement of the safety components’ limits, will continue to use the machine.

In this case, the operators wouldn’t be adequately protected and the end user would expose himself to the consequences of the breach of the obligation to provide workers with safe equipment, as required by Legislative Decree n. 81/08.

An important step towards predictive safety

Sistema-acquisizione-dati-dispositivi-sicurezza

The industrial digitalization can offer a concrete solution to improve the operators’ safety.

The technologies and components on the market make it possible to easily equip any machine with data acquisition systems for safety devices. The acquired data can be transferred to an appropriate collection and processing point (Cloud and Cloud Computing) in compliance with the current Cyber​​ Security parameters.

The results are precise statistics and graphics which allow a constant monitoring of the devices’ status, their remaining life time and a forecast of their limits’ achievement based on the usage history.

Scalabilità-dati-sicurezza-industriale

The representative parameters’ scalability, depending on the capillarity of the data acquisition infrastructure, allows to collect and analyze safety data from both for an entire production site or the single device of a single machine operating on that same site.

A technology that concretely allows to plan predictive maintenance operations in order to guarantee the adequate safety level for the operators.