Tuesday 12 June 2012

Distributed safety system with high availability

GE Intelligent Platforms has announced the PACSystems VersaSafe machine safety solution, which adds SIL3 safety capabilities to GE’s high performance platforms strategy. By combining secure network connectivity, certified safety function blocks, and an easy to use graphical programming environment, users can efficiently integrate standards-compliant safety capabilities to equipment while meeting increasingly stringent regulatory requirements.

“Production has to become more efficient by enabling the operator to work closer to the process without compromising operator safety,” said Karl Pickan, Product Manager Machine Safety for GE Intelligent Platforms. “In addition, meeting increasingly stringent regulatory requirements, such as the Machine Safety Directive in Europe, requires improved safety measures.”

The VersaSafe distributed safety system provides a TÜV-certified SIL3 machine safety solution that focuses on the critical control requirements of the production environment: safe operation and greater uptime of manufacturing equipment. High availability is delivered by integrating industry-proven PROFINET with optional media redundant protocol (MRP) and multiple cable media options. Machine repair times are reduced by the ability to put a machine in a safe state without fully powering down the equipment, which, in turn enables faster start-up after a repair.

VersaSafe is part of the PACSystems family of control systems that delivers increased performance, greater uptime and lower total cost of ownership compared to traditional safety systems. Leveraging PACSystems’ distributed I/O architecture and single point of connect capabilities, VersaSafe enables efficient development of high-performance modular machines. A single network carries standard and safety I/O; this simplifies wiring without compromising safety.

To minimize engineering efforts, GE provides a comprehensive set of tools and services as part of the VersaSafe solution, including a library of certified safety function blocks, the ability to seamlessly integrate safety and standard capabilities, and a robust set of integrated development and commissioning diagnostic utilities.

With VersaSafe, GE has eliminated the need for a separate safety CPU, enabling a highly-distributed safety I/O configuration that is both cost effective and maintains highest levels of performance as the system grows. In addition, companies can make online changes to safety logic. Large production lines, in particular, will realize considerable benefit in the ability to update a portion of the safety logic without stopping the controller. Smaller machines benefit from right-sizing the safety I/O needs without bearing the overhead of a separate safety controller.

“The VersaSafe family of PROFINET-based safe I/O is part of GE Intelligent Platforms’ High Performance Platform strategy that leverages industry standards plus the combination of our experience in embedded technology and automation to deliver long-life, high- performance solutions that are easy to configure, manage and upgrade,” continued Pickan.

VersaSafe is available for new and retrofit applications, building on GE’s commitment to long-term partnerships with its customers.

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