Why Integrated Safety is the Right Strategy for Large, Complex Applications

July 6, 2023

During the safety design process for a machine or application, manufacturers must choose whether these measures will be implemented as a standalone or networked (integrated) safety solution. Basic safety solutions can work for smaller-size applications, but when people are talking about large automation production lines, for example, complexity makes these unworkable.

Integrated safety isn’t just a highly effective way to mitigate risk. In fact, it’s a key element in building a high-performing, future-ready manufacturing facility since it’s capable of improving automation efficiency and boosting throughput.

Let’s take a look at the differences between standalone and integrated safety — and why the latter is important for large, highly complex applications.

What goes into a basic (standalone) safety system?

Basic safety involves an input device, a logic device, and an output device. This configuration can be abbreviated as ILO for “input, logic, output.” One input device, one logic device, and one output device constitute a complete standalone system, and each of these will be a discrete device that’s hardwired.

  • An input device — which could be a light curtain, a scanner, a door interlock, a safety mat, or the like — detects human incursion into an automation workspace. E-stops also count as input devices, even if they require a human to purposefully activate them, rather than simply detecting human presence.
  • logic device takes the input, decides whether the input is a valid safety signal, and then makes a safety-related decision to interrupt primary power to a machine and remove any energy that pose a hazard. Examples of such hazards could be machine motion, arc flashes, or high-pressure water.
  • An output device removes the energy from the hazardous situation. For electrical power, the device will usually be contactors. For rotating and/or moving hazards, it might be a clutch brake, which separates a blade from its motor and forces the blade to stop instantly while allowing the motor to coast down.

Detecting human incursion isn’t the only job of a safety system. If a copper wire within the system gets cut, for example, the system will detect that as well, since this could lead to potentially hazardous machine failure or dysfunction within the safety system itself.

Discover Omron’s full range of safety solutions

How integrated safety builds upon the ILO concept

When you’re got a complex production line that has large assemblies with robots lifting heavy parts right and left, there are lots of forces and individual hazards to deal with. Each of these hazards must be considered within the context of the larger system, so that shutting down one machine on the line won’t necessarily result in an entire line stoppage.

The goal here is to create a network integrated safety system where you’re not simply adding a layer of safety over an already-designed production line. To ensure that all hazards are safeguarded and that the line will function as smoothly as possible, safety can’t just be an afterthought. This is where integrated safety comes in.

In integrated safety, you still need input, output, and logic devices, but you combine multiple smaller safety modules into a comprehensive safety “umbrella” that works like an orchestra. All the ILO devices are tied together via a communication network that can quickly communicate any legitimate safety trips. When someone’s limbs (and possibly life) are in danger, speed is key.

Learn about Omron’s safety services

Distributed vs. centralized systems in integrated safety 

Integrated safety systems can be either distributed or centralized. Distributed safety is a lot easier to wire, since wiring distances are shorter and there’s more flexibility in designing the safety matrix (the directions that indicate which energy sources should be shut down for different specific hazards).

Each of these remote hubs would collect the individual wiring inputs from the input devices and then communicate their actions via communications line. Centralized wiring would require running all the leads back to the control panel where the distances, complexity, time, and effort of this would be significantly greater.



Integrated Safety Video

Related Articles

Network Infrastructure Featured Product Spotlight

PBUS 14 Panduit logo 400

This webinar presented by Beth Lessard and Keith Cordero will be highlighting three Panduit solutions that will optimize network equipment and cabling to ensure that your spaces are efficiently and properly managed to support ever-evolving business needs of today and beyond. Products that will be featured include PanZone TrueEdge Wall Mount Enclsoure, Cable Managers, and Adjustable Depth 4-Post Rack.


Editor’s Pick: Featured Product News

Siemens: SIMOVAC Non-Arc-Resistant and SIMOVAC-AR Arc-Resistant Motor Controllers

The Siemens SIMOVAC medium-voltage non-arc-resistant and SIMOVAC-AR arc-resistant controllers have a modular design incorporating up to two 12SVC400 (400 A) controllers, housed in a freestanding sheet steel enclosure. Each controller is UL 347 class E2, equipped with three current-limiting fuses, a non-load-break isolating switch, and a fixed-mounted vacuum contactor (plug-in type optional for 12SVC400). The enclosure is designed for front access, allowing the equipment to be located with the rear of the equipment close to a non-combustible wall.

Read More

Sponsored Content
Electrify Your Enterprise

Power is vital to production, and well-designed control cabinets are key. Allied Electronics & Automation offers a comprehensive collection of control cabinet solutions including PLCs, HMIs, contactors, miniature circuit breakers, terminal block connectors, DIN-rail power supplies, pushbutton switches, motor starters, overloads, power relays, industrial Ethernet switches and AC drives engineered to keep your operations running safely, reliably and efficiently.

Learn more HERE.

Products for Panel Builders

  • Amphenol TPC Wire & Cable: New Super-Trex SJOO Portable Cord

    Amphenol TPC Wire & Cable: New Super-Trex SJOO Portable Cord

    Amphenol TPC Wire & Cable proudly announces a new line of portable cable – Super-Trex SJOO Portable Cord. This innovative product is designed to meet the demands of harsh industrial environments and offers exceptional flexibility, durability, and protection. It is ideal for manufacturing and industrial settings in various applications, including powering light machinery, assembly line systems, portable… Read More…

  • Pfannenberg USA: New X-Series Cooling Units

    Pfannenberg USA: New X-Series Cooling Units

    Pfannenberg, Inc. has recently announced its new X-Series cooling units. The innovative X-Series marks a focus in energy efficiency and operational effectiveness for industrial cooling applications. Designed to meet the demanding needs of modern industries, the X-Series units feature an optimized control algorithm using inverter technology, developed from years of expertise. This allows for the… Read More…