Machine Safety: Are you using planning and execution tools?

Machine guarding has clearly entered the technology world with integrated safety systems. But, are you still using 1970s approaches for planning and executing? Scotty didn’t beam colleagues to the Starship Enterprise via Hertz Rent-a-Car!


JB Titus, CFSEMachine guarding has clearly entered the technology world with integrated safety systems. But, are you still using 1970s approaches for planning and executing? Scotty didn’t beam colleagues to the Starship Enterprise via Hertz Rent-a-Car!

   We’ve entered the twenty-first century with state-of-the-art technology approved for use in machine safety applications. Along with the technology comes a whole host of new tools specifically designed to assist industry in the evaluation, design, and validation stages of your machine guarding responsibility. This is really a subject where you can help your colleagues by sharing your experience with different tools. Let’s take a quick look at just a few of these tools.            

   One of the most recent tools was just announced last month in Chicago at Rockwell Automation’s Safety Automation Forum and Automation Fair. This new tool is an ROI (return on investment) calculation Tool for machine safety. Its primary application is in the project development stage for securing investment funding. This comprehensive tool is unique because it combines financial, injury, and productivity related data to calculate a projected investment ROI. A basic understanding is that the new integrated safety systems can provide improved business performance for manufacturers compared with conventional hard wired machine guarding solutions.

   Siemens, Pilz, and Rockwell Automation all have tools for users to design safety circuits compliant to IEC 62061 and EN ISO 13849-1. Projects can be archived and retrieved as needed for timely updates and the tools will also generate a safety standard compliant report which can be incorporated into your required machine documentation. They generally include a complete library of safety products for planning a complete safety circuit. All of these project planning and execution tools provide automatic calculations of requirements such as; common-cause failures (CCF), diagnostic coverage (DC), performance level (PL), safety integrity level (SIL), probability of a dangerous failure per hour (PFHD), and several more. Links to these tools are listed below:


   I’ve touched on just a few of the available tools developed over the past ten years for the specific purpose of supporting safety integrated systems for machine safety. What are your opinions of these tools and what additional tools have you used and found useful?

   Your comments or suggestion are always welcome so please let us know your thoughts. Submit your ideas, experiences, and challenges on this subject in the comments section below. Click on the following text if you don't see a comments box, then scroll down: Machine Safety: Are you using planning and execution tools? 

   Related articles:

How To Integrate Safety

Rockwell Automation ROI Tool

Siemens Safety Evaluation Tool

PILZ PAScal Safety Calculator

Rockwell Automation SISTEMA

Contact: for “Solutions for Machine Safety”.

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