OMRON to Release Safety Network Controller Featuring the World's Highest Safety Control Level | Automation.com

OMRON to Release Safety Network Controller Featuring the World's Highest Safety Control Level

April 062005
Kyoto, Japan, Apr. 06, 2005 - OMRON Corporation (TSE: 6645; US: OMRNY), a global leader in automation, sensing and control technologies, announced today that its Industrial Automation Company (IAB, President Fumio Tateisi) will launch a new safety network controller (SNC) that expands safety control as well as promotes simpler total system control. The launch is scheduled on April 20, 2005.

This new SNC is the world's first safety controller with a built-in DeviceNet Safety interface. Also SNC features modularly configured safety functions for programming safety circuits. This controller meets guidelines of SIL3 of IEC61508 (*1) for functional safety and category 4 of EN954-1 (*2) regarding safety of machinery. IAB has also incorporated DeviceNet Safety interface into its safety controller before the competition.

Main Features of the SNC
1) Programmable safety control circuits:
Safety control circuits conforming to safety standards (IEC61508 SIL3/EN954-1 category 4) are programmable. This allows easier modifications and additions to safety circuits whenever equipment design incorporates changes.

2) Added flexibility for system expansion via networking:
By combining the SNC with a safety network for DeviceNet Safety connection with safety devices, controller connection wiring can be held to minimal with just those absolutely necessary for branch connections. Conventional large-scale complex systems require inter-circuit wiring for configuring logic circuitry in addition to the safety circuit's input/output connections. OMRON's SNC can be expected to reduce wiring requirements up to just half of that in conventional controllers. Reduced wiring helps minimize wiring error during installation or maintenance work and improves operability during system changes.

3) Affinity with existing systems:
Conventional safety control was separate from machine control in terms of hardware configurations. This necessitated separate wiring steps to provide ideal control and serviceability. However, safety devices are now built on open architecture DeviceNet, so that SNC can allow safety control and machine control to be performed in parallel via single wiring. Machine conditions can therefore be monitored without requiring other wiring for maintenance.

*1) SIL3 of IEC61508
Safety circuits are required to continue to function properly even in case of malfunction. Indicators for assessing the degree of safety usually determine the "unsafe" condition such circuits are in. IEC61508 defines safety in terms of probability of failure per hour (PFH) and classifies safety functions into four Safety Integrity Levels (SIL) using PFH. SIL3 refers to failure probability of once every 1000 years or less, and a safety function that is the highest in the field of machine safety.

*2) Category 4 of EN954-1
EN standards require a machine's safety risk to be assessed and to determine the control measures to be incorporated into machinery to eliminate or reduce the risk. The degree of safety risk is assessed and determined by three factors:
1) Severity of the injury (slight injury or serious irreversible injury/death)
2) Frequency and exposure time to the hazard (seldom or frequent)
3) Possibility of avoiding the hazard (possible or scarcely possible)

EN954-1 determines safety requirements of machine control in five categories of safety performance. Category 4 requires the highest level for safety performance capable of accommodating the most hazardous conditions with risk of serious injury (that will lead to loss of a limb or death) and hazard occurring frequently and scarcely possible to avoid. In this category, any single fault in the control shall not lead to a loss of the safety function(s), and the accumulated faults shall not lead to a loss of safety function(s).

Background to the SNC Development
1) Changes in the environment the manufacturing industry faces

The most prominent changes taking place in the environment relating to the manufacturing industry include a decrease in highly experienced workers with accumulated know-how, increasing use of part-timers and outsourcing, as well as other changes in the working environment. These changes have initiated new issues in the passing on/transference of know-how and expertise related to manufacturing equipment design, maintenance and machine safety. Along with the acceleration of globalized operations among Japanese manufacturers of automobiles, semiconductors/FPD devices and others, safety design is demanded for manufacturing equipment as well. Safety is therefore considered one of the most pressing management issues that requires urgent solutions.

2) Increasingly advanced machinery and systems

An impressive assortment of large-size machinery and equipment are used for manufacturing of automobiles, etc. Safety circuitry design for such machinery and equipment requires many wiring connections between circuits and between sensors, making safety circuit design increasingly complex, and machine installation/maintenance more difficult.

Conventional safety circuitry was configured by combinations of relays, which required separate wiring for safety control in addition to the input/output wiring needed for machine control. With relay-based safety circuitry, wiring connections grew increasingly complex as machinery/equipment grew more advanced, thus making it difficult to change or add safety circuits.

Recently, demand is on the rise for improved servicing efficiency through monitoring distributed safety devices and for easier manufacturing line transitions to accommodate increasingly shorter product lifecycles. A much-needed solution is provided by the development of a safety controller that supports programming of safety circuits and network compatibility. These conditions provided the background for OMRON's SNC development.

About OMRON
Headquartered in Kyoto, Japan, OMRON Corporation is a global leader in the field of automation. Established in 1933 and headed by President and CEO Hisao Sakuta, OMRON has more than 26,000 employees in over 35 countries working to provide products and services to customers in a variety of fields including industrial automation, electronic components, social systems (ticket gate machines, ticket vending machines, and traffic control), and healthcare. The company is divided into five regions and head offices are in Japan (Kyoto), Asia Pacific (Singapore), China (Shanghai), Europe (Amsterdam) and US (Chicago).

For additional Omron information, Contact Omron or visit their web site at www.omron.com.
Back to top
Posted in:
Industry

MORE INDUSTRY NEWS

VIEW ALL

RELATED