Last updateFri, 14 May 2021 4pm

The Next Step in Functional Safety

The main goal of functional safety is to prevent accidents. When people think of functional safety, key words such as failure rates and safety integrity level (SIL), come to mind. However, these words only scratch the surface of understanding functional safety. Plant engineers and end users know the use of IEC 61508 certified devices alone does not guarantee a safe design, especially with a final element assembly. For example, analyzed field failure reports for remote actuated valve assemblies show that the root cause for many of these failures is application mismatch, insufficient lifetime torque matching and assembly errors. A study done in the UK supports this as well (Figure 1). The realization is that these automated valve assemblies do not always provide the anticipated safety.

The Future of Manufacturing is Already Here

Companies in the valve and control products industry are responding to a confluence of forces that are changing the landscape of manufacturing.

Kevin Tinsley shares a commonly held fear in the manufacturing industry. “My nightmare is getting the phone call that somebody got hurt in our facility,” said Tinsley, senior vice president of Neles Global Operations. The company recently mitigated some of the risk by combining artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics to perform high-pressure testing of its valves.

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