Published 22-07-2019
| Article appears in August 2019 Issue

FIVE TRENDS IN SAFETY ENGINEERING

19-07-2019

The design and function of safety engineering is constantly evolving, and Treotham is keeping up with the trends with its Euchner safety products.

Digitisation increases machine availability
In complex networked installations and machines, providing functional safety information about the door position and guard locking is often no longer sufficient. Comprehensive diagnostics data supplied via IO-Link and bus systems help with troubleshooting and give an insight into the status of the systems. Simple configuration measures, for example in the ProfiNet network, reduce the amount of wiring work. The safe signals are also sent via the bus. The Euchner MGB series from Treotham makes it easy to integrate the very latest safety engineering functions into existing networks.

Managing access rights
Not only people need to be protected from the harm that machines can cause. In addition, it is essential that the costly manufacturing process is not interrupted by unauthorised or accidental interventions. In this case, key-operated rotary switches and passwords no longer provide adequate safety. The solution is an electronic key system that manages access rights centrally. The Euchner EKS from Treotham can do that, and much more. For example, a time limit can be set and keys can be blocked if they are lost. Other options include different access levels for different machines and managing user groups.

Electronic prevention of tampering
When safety systems are bypassed, there is generally a good reason for doing so. Often, certain tasks can be carried out only when a safety door is open, but this can be dangerous. Electronically coded actuators that are ‘married’ to the accompanying safety switch allow almost all types of tampering to be prevented. However, if the safety door has to be open for the work to go ahead, the risk can be reduced by limiting the axis movements and pressing an enabling switch, for example. To activate this safety function, Euchner has developed a procedure for safely selecting operating modes based on the electronic key adaptor for safe applications. Only employees with the appropriate training are given the personalised electronic key to allow them to carry out tasks involving an increased risk.

Personalising safety products
All safety applications are different. For example, the emergency stop often has to be integrated into the door-locking mechanism, and the request and acknowledgment buttons may need to be fitted directly to the safety door. Treotham’s special extended variants for safety switches with guard locking meet many of these requirements. The new MGB2 Modular even allows users to make the functional modifications themselves. By plugging in function submodules, users can adapt the multifunctional gate box for specific applications. With more than 20 different submodules on offer, there are plenty of options available. In addition, new modules can be produced in small numbers to meet individual customers’ requirements. The wide range of variants and the options for personalisation make the systems more user-friendly, which in turn increases productivity.

Increasingly compact safety switches
In the past the appearance of production machines was relatively unimportant when compared with their functions. However, in recent years developers have increasingly focused on the design of the machines, which is often regarded as a reflection of their high standard of quality. For safety engineering products, this may well mean that they need to be concealed in the machine cover, but it is essential that they continue to function without problems. Fortunately the high level of electronic integration that is now possible has enabled PCBs to be reduced in size. Innovative technologies allow products to be made smaller and smaller. The smallest Euchner RFID configurator from Treotham is the same size as a 6mm plastic dowel and is almost invisible once it has been installed in a door.

Treotham Automation
1300 65 75 64
www.treotham.com.au

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