Help! Is my machine safe?

Machine safety according to SIL and PL

Are you a machine builder who needs to protect machines and you don't know what you need for that? Or are you a user of machines that need to be protected? In addition to offering the right products, we can also help you apply these products in accordance with SIL and PL machine safety standards.

Technical product specialist Rutger Bruins helps you answer questions about, among other things, the most suitable type of light barrier according to the standard for walk-in protection and whether you need one or two switches to monitor a door. Rutger has recently completed the training for SIL / PL specialist.

Machine safety according to SIL and PL

Start by determining the safety level

SIL and PL are two standards for mechanical engineering in the field of safety. If you want to meet these standards, you have to take a number of aspects into account. Consider connecting components and meeting safety requirements. Rutger explains: “You always start by determining a safety level based on a risk assessment. These levels are PL a to PL e or SIL 1 to SIL 3. A high safety level (PL e) offers the highest degree of reliability."

Before you can determine a safety level, you must ask the following questions:

1. What is the seriousness of the potential injury?

2. What is the frequency of exposure to the hazard?

3. Is it possible to avert the danger?

What are the consequences if the machine fails?

Safety functions

Stopping the engine of the machine when opening the access door is an example of a safety function. You then connect a safety level to this. You determine that level according to a number of aspects that are specified in the standards. An example: how often does the operator have to go to the robot? Is it necessary to change a product every hour, or does the operator only have to perform work around the robot once a day? But also consider the consequences if you do come into contact with the robot. Does the production line 'only' fail or does the operator run the risk of physical injury? This requires a different safety level.

“How components must be connected also depends on the required safety level. When do you use two door contacts and when is one contact sufficient? All in all, it can be quite a complicated story that we, as fortop, would like to support, ”Rutger says finally. "The added value of fortop is that we can not only deliver the product, but also have the knowledge to use it safely according to the standard."

Rutger Bruins | Technical product specialist