New SafeNet System Lets Individual Safety Devices Actually Talk To Each Other

January 28, 1999

Safety systems have long preferred to stay in splendid paranoid isolation. Every emergency stop button, safety mat, light curtain, or safety lock has jealousy guarded its own complex wiring for fear of confusion with the operation of other safety systems. Now a new integrated approach to safety systems has been devised called SafeNet which allows a manufacturing plant, or other system operator, to integrate all their safety systems in a single network, allowing them to operate and monitor an integrated network of safety systems with confidence.

SafeNet has been devised by Corby company Smartscan Ltd who are now working with the Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick to develop it further for a range of applications.

The SafeNet system incorporates a fail-safe, two-wire communications highway (called ) for transferring power, safety, and diagnostic data between each individual safety system in the network and a central module. The individual safety devices could include: emergency stop switches, light curtains, gate interlocks, two hand controllers, safety mats, solenoid valves etc.

SafeNet uses a Windows based software design programme for design, configuring, re-configuring, verifying and setting-up of the safety system, and to monitor, in real time, the status of every device on the system. SafeNet works on single machines, complex linked machines or entire production systems.

SafeNet is an "open" system enabling all safety component manufacturers to design and manufacture compatible devices for direct connection onto the system. The new system has satisfied all European legislative requirements for control, monitoring and use of safety critical components, and has already obtained full European Third Party Type Accreditation confirming the system meets all the relevant legislative requirements for Annex lV safety components as defined in the European Machinery Directive and The Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations. In fact, the SafeNet system actually exceeds the level of safety integrity defined as Category 4, specified in European Harmonised Standard EN 954-1 : Safety Related Control.

University of Warwick

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