Safety is being integrated into automation

The gates of Hanover Fair 2014 have just closed. Many visitors and exhibitors are looking back at five successful days at the trade fair filled with interesting discussions on all aspects of automation.

It’s clear that products and solutions for PROFINET and PROFIBUS are enjoying strong demand. For most users, there is no longer any question of whether to use industrial communication. It is the backbone of modern automation systems, opening up significant opportunities for increasing productivity.

muller_phoenix_profibus_161_cropped_2Besides conventional field devices, a main component of industrial communication is safety. It must be incorporated seamlessly and be easy to configure, program, and handle. PROFIsafe for PROFIBUS and PROFINET offers the ideal conditions, and many new PROFIsafe products were presented at Hanover Fair.

Functional safety is being increasingly included in national guidelines and standards and is therefore having to be taken seriously in the design of machines and systems internationally.

This trend is shown clearly by the node counts for PROFINET, PROFIBUS and PROFIsafe. In 2011, the ratio of PROFIsafe nodes to total PROFIBUS and PROFINET nodes sold was approximately 1:29. This dropped to 1:23 in 2012 and fell further to 1:18 in 2013.

The trend can be expected to continue as more and more products and solutions for PROFIsafe become available, making it increasingly attractive to take the simple step of integrating safety in a customized manner.

So, with good reason, safety is the featured topic of the next few articles. I hope you enjoy reading about it.

Martin Müller is Head of I/O and Networks Business Unit, Phoenix Contact Electronics