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Machine builders should adopt the EN 13949-1 Machinery Directive standards sooner rather than later, according to Kevin Ives, machinery safety consultant at Pilz Automation Technology.

Version 2006/42/EC of the directive was introduced in 2006 and published in the Official Journal (OJ) in September 2009.

The publishing of any article, directive or notification of a standard in the OJ is the point at which the use of the document becomes mandatory.

Ever since the first Machinery Directive, the recommended method of meeting all of the Essential Health and Safety Requirements (EHSRs) was to follow the advice in the Harmonised Standards.

These are standards that have been written in support of the directive.

A list of the standards applicable for use against the directive is printed in the OJ following the ratification of the directive.

As with the directives, the standards are being improved and upgraded, with new versions being announced in the OJ as being harmonised against the relevant directive.

In 2007, the replacement for the Safety of Machinery – Design of safety-related control systems (EN 954-1) was printed.

This standard, EN 13949-1, has the same title and seeks to achieve the same ends, but it uses a risk-based approach.

The standard introduces new criteria such as diagnostic coverage (DC) and mean time to dangerous failure (MTTFd), which need to be taken into consideration when designing the system.

The normal situation, when a standard is rewritten, is to allow a two-year changeover period.

This is provided to enable manufacturers to modify their design and documentation to align with the new requirements.

Using this rule, EN 954-1 should have been revoked and replaced by EN 13849-1 in late 2009.

The inclusion of EN 13849-1 as a harmonised standard against 2006/42/EC was announced in the OJ in September 2009.

At this point, problems started to emerge; there were a few complaints made to the commission, claiming that two years did not allow sufficient time for some manufacturers of components to provide the information and data needed to calculate failure rates, as required by the latest standard.

The commission agreed and therefore delayed revoking EN954-1 until the end of 2011.

The latest list of harmonised standards that can be used to demonstrate compliance with the directive does not list EN 954-1.

This list was printed in the OJ dated 20 October 2010.

This clouds the issue further, according to Ives.

In theory, manufacturers cannot use standards that are not harmonised to claim compliance with the directive, but EN954-1 will not be revoked until the end of 2011.

All of the machine-specific standards (C standards) that were written before the introduction of EN 13849-1 list EN 954-1 as an appropriate standard to use for the design of the safety-related controls.

This raises even more confusion, he added.

As the newer standards better reflect state of the art in machine safety system design, Pilz recommends that machine builders adopt these standards sooner rather than wait until the end of the transition period.

This is because, according to the company, the future of automation and machinery lies in flexible, modular architectures, which will provide users with the high level of availability and adaptability required for agile, lean manufacturing plants.

Modern plant and machinery will therefore require intelligent safety systems.

The new standard reflects this increased tendency to use electronic and programmable systems for safety, rather than traditional electromechanical devices that were used when EN 954 was published.

EN 13849-1 provides requirements for the design and integration of the safety-related parts of control systems, including software.

It has wide applicability as it applies to all technologies, including electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic and mechanical.

While acknowledging the decision of the European Union, Pilz believes the probabilistic approach of the new standards provides machinery designers and users with many advantages when assessing the reliability of safety systems.

While there is an increased complexity in requirements to make design calculations, tools such as Pilz’s Pascal Safety Calculator are available to calculate the required Performance Level (PL) and Safety Integrity Level (SIL).

This software also evaluates safety system designs and then generates the necessary documents to be included in the machine’s technical file.

Training courses are also available on the new 2006/42/EC Machinery Directive, including one-, two- and four-day City and Guilds Machinery Safety Courses, Safety Design and CE Marking.

Those companies designing and manufacturing new machinery that apply one of the new standards now will not incur the additional costs of design, validation and documentation when the transition period ends in December 2011.

Pilz Automation Technology

Pilz Automation technology offers a wide range of machinery safety components from PLC systems to safety sensors and servo drives, alongside their range of machinery safety consulting and engineering services and their extensive range of machinery safety training courses. Pilz has many years of experience in a variety of industries such as Food & Beverage, Packaging, Automotive, Paper and Automation, combined with the knowledge and experience of it’s machinery safety experts, Pilz is well equipped to be your machinery safety partners.

Since its formation, Pilz UK has been at the forefront of the UK machinery safety market, based in Corby, Northamptonshire since 1987, Pilz UK employs of over 35 people, many of whom are considered to be machinery and functional safety experts.
More than Machinery Safety Products
Pilz UK’s wide range of products including safety relays, PLC’s, light curtains, servo drives, gate locking systems and more are stocked and shipped from their purpose-built premises in Corby. The state of the art building is equipped with an engineering workshop to compliment the company’s safety services range including PUWER Inspections, Safety Concepts, CE Marking and Engineering. Pilz also has a dedicated training facility where courses such as the popular one day Basic Machinery Safety Course, City & Guilds 4 day Machinery Safety and the TUV accreditedCMSE (Certified Machinery Safety Expert) are delivered.
Experts in Machinery Safety
Pilz has built up expertise and a strong reputation in many industries such as print and paper, food and beverage, packaging, steel, nuclear and process, that is largely due to the in depth knowledge and competency of our staff. With over 14 members of staff having achieved CMSE qualification and an average of 22 years experience in safety and automation, our team are well equipped with knowledge on safety standards, legislation, applications and functional safety to provide our customers with practical solutions.
Pilz UK looks forward to becoming your partner in Machinery Safety and Automation

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