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Trends and Challenges of Safety Critical Systems in Automation Industry
Dr. Frank Reichenbach, ABB Corporate Research, Norway
Lecture room Kappa, Västerås
The demand for safety in industrial areas where processes or operations can be hazardous for humans or environment grows constantly with a rate of 12 % per year (according to a 2009 ARC study). According to a recently published analysis from Frost & Sullivan the safety market earned revenues of 459.3 million US dollar in the year 2010. Safety standards shall "force" manufacturers to use what is unofficially agreed on to be a "best practice" in industry. Vendors for safety systems like ABB have been reacting on this trend and provide a wide portfolio of safety certified products reaching from safe temperature and pressure sensors over safe IO units up to safe IO controllers like the 800xA system. Although developing functional safety raises the development costs, it can also save overall costs within the whole lifecycle of a product. The productivity can be increased by preventing accidents and ensuring health and safety of personnel. However many companies that started dealing with safety developments or safety engineering experienced lots of issues when trying to tackle the mass of requirements demanded by accredited safety standards. It requires a descent understanding of safety theory and product specifics, established development processes as well as extra costs for certification to succeed on the safety market. This talk will give an overview about safety critical applications in industry and the standards that have been emerged. It will show challenges and opportunities related to functional safety and give an outlook about technologies and trends that seem to become significant in the near future.