Discrete machine safety components are getting smarter

Studies by IMS Research indicate machine builders and end users are starting to use intelligent safety interlocks that are touchless.


End users and machine builders are increasingly looking for better diagnostic and networking capabilities in discrete machine safety components, according to a new user survey carried out by IMS Research.

IMS Research on intelligent machine systems for safety interlocks. Courtesy: IMS Research

“A good example of this is the projected increase in the use of touchless (magnetic and electronic) interlock switches, which often provide diagnostic and networking capabilities” comments IMS Research market analyst Graham Brown. Brown continues, “Survey responses show that more than twice as many respondents currently use traditional types of interlock switches. However, by 2014 more respondents intend to use touchless interlock switches.”

These results are supported by a separate market study published by IMS Research at the beginning of 2011. This study, “Discrete Machine Safety Components – World – 2011” forecasts that revenues for touchless switches are set to grow by an average of nearly 20% per year, leading to total revenues of $128 million by 2014. Revenues of traditional (mechanical and solenoid) switches are forecast to grow by only 1% annually.

Although implementing ‘intelligent’ safety systems does present higher initial costs, it offers some significant benefits to users. Improving diagnostics allows faults to be identified early and parts to be replaced before a major failure occurs. Implementing networking allows these early warning signals to be delivered to a central monitoring station allowing further potential time savings. These improvements should reduce both down-time and operator injuries.

Ever increasing numbers of end users and machine builders are switching to the more intelligent discrete machine safety component options. This will not only help to increase revenues for safety component suppliers, but will also improve productivity while ensuring the safety of operatives on the factory floor, according to IMS Research.


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