Machine Safety: Can hand held devices play a role?

Wireless hand held devices (smart phones, tablets, pads, etc.), common in daily life, are emerging on the shop floor. Can they improve machine safety?

02/10/2013


Hand held devices (smart phones, tablets, pads, etc.) are common place for almost everyone in day-to-day life. We’re even beginning to see these wireless devices on the shop floor. Can they play a role in machine safety?

What are you beginning to see where you work? Are you spotting devices like Nexus pads, tablets, Apple iPads and iPhones, Google Android devices, RIM Blackberry smartphones, and more? Aside from cell phone features, what are they doing?

Consumer-grade smartphones and tablet computers are fast becoming commonplace extensions of industrial networks, permitting process monitoring and, even (gasp!) process control. Control Engineering

I’ve seen them displaying machine drawings on the factory floor right beside the machine. This helps technicians communicate directly with engineering offices to quickly diagnose a downtime issue to quickly bring the machine back into operation. I’ve also seen applications where a technician communicates directly with an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) halfway around the world while standing a few feet from the machine and looking at the machine drawings or live operating metrics. This type of timely and accurate communication is priceless when significant cost savings are waiting in the wings.

I’ve also seen applications where live dashboard tools are displayed highlighting one machine that’s laboring behind other similar machines. This helps to pinpoint critical pinch points in the production process that might limit overall output. This enables manufacturers to target their focus and fine tune their operations. Notice that so far I’ve not mentioned anything that directly has to do with machine safety.

At this point in time I believe that these devices will not have a direct role in machine safety because they are not compliant with regulations and standards like IEC 61508 or NFPA 79 for example. Is this how you see it as well? Firmware and software based devices intended for safety-related functions have very strict regulations for design, build and testing compliance. However, it’s my opinion that at the rate innovative technology is advancing it won’t be long until we might find general purpose hand held devices performing some safety-related functions.   

 

J.B. Titus, CFSE

Has this presented you with any new perspectives? Have you seen wireless commercial devices used in machine safety or related support roles? Should they? Add your comments or thoughts to the discussion by submitting your ideas, experiences, and challenges in the comments section below.

 

Related articles:

Machine Safety and Wireless Devices

How to choose wireless technology for industrial applications

Cableless (Wireless) Operator Panel Applications

Machine Safety – Cableless vs Wireless

iQagent for Holistic Data Display & Machine Optimization

 

Contact: http://www.jbtitus.com for “Solutions for Machine Safety”.



Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
Boiler basics; 2017 Product of the Year winners; Manufacturing facilities Q&A; Building integration; Piping and pumping systems
2017 MEP Giants; Mergers and acquisitions report; ASHRAE 62.1; LEED v4 updates and tips; Understanding overcurrent protection
Integrating electrical and HVAC for energy efficiency; Mixed-use buildings; ASHRAE 90.4; Wireless fire alarms assessment and challenges
Power system design for high-performance buildings; mitigating arc flash hazards
Transformers; Electrical system design; Selecting and sizing transformers; Grounded and ungrounded system design, Paralleling generator systems
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; VFDs in high-performance buildings
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
Boiler basics; 2017 Product of the Year winners; Manufacturing facilities Q&A; Building integration; Piping and pumping systems
2017 MEP Giants; Mergers and acquisitions report; ASHRAE 62.1; LEED v4 updates and tips; Understanding overcurrent protection
Integrating electrical and HVAC for energy efficiency; Mixed-use buildings; ASHRAE 90.4; Wireless fire alarms assessment and challenges
Power system design for high-performance buildings; mitigating arc flash hazards
Transformers; Electrical system design; Selecting and sizing transformers; Grounded and ungrounded system design, Paralleling generator systems
Commissioning electrical systems; Designing emergency and standby generator systems; VFDs in high-performance buildings
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.
Automation Engineer; Wood Group
System Integrator; Cross Integrated Systems Group
Fire & Life Safety Engineer; Technip USA Inc.
This course focuses on climate analysis, appropriateness of cooling system selection, and combining cooling systems.
This course will help identify and reveal electrical hazards and identify the solutions to implementing and maintaining a safe work environment.
This course explains how maintaining power and communication systems through emergency power-generation systems is critical.
click me