Top Five Tips For Making Your Machine Or System Safe

Safety App1. Risk Assessment
Before deciding which safety input devices are required to guard your machine, it is necessary to understand which performance level you need to achieve. A risk assessment is therefore required.

At Phoenix Contact we have an App which can be used on an iPhone or iPad, giving the user an interactive risk assessment guide, and therefore determining the performance level of the machine or application.

2. Which standard do I apply?

EN954-1 was the machinery standard that many applied. This became obsolete on 31st December 2011. EN ISO 13849-1 replaced EN954-1 and introduces the concept of component quality and lifetime. It can be applied to safety circuits that don’t just include electronic components, so covers pneumatic and hydraulic elements as well. This standard talks about performance levels (PLe for example).

EN IEC 62061 can only be applied to electronic components in a safety circuit. It is more suited to complex applications that require the need for a Safety PLC for example. This standard talks about SIL Levels (SIL 3 for example). It is more complex than EN ISO 13849-1 to apply.

The below table summarises the major differences quite well, or you can visit our website for more information about Safety Standards. 

EN ISO 13849-1

EN IEC 62061

Comes from EN954-1: 1966 and is supplemented
with quality management and reliability aspects

Sector standard for the field of machines that was
created on the basis of IEC 61508

Best suited for less complex systems

Can only be used for highly complex electronic
technology and here particularly for complex
programmable systems

Can also be used for other technologies apart from
electronics, e.g. pneumatic or hydraulic system

Procedure for proof of safety of electronic technology
based on IEC 61508

Suitable for proof of safety of devices as well as for
evaluation of risk reduction of the entire safety function
via tables

Suitable for proof of safety of devices as well as for
evaluation of risk reduction of the entire safety function
through calculation













3. How do I know I have achieved the required performance level ?

One easy way to validate that you have achieved the correct performance level for your machine/application is to use a free software tool called SISTEMA. This is free to download from our website – click here to download

You can also download a library of Phoenix Contact devices from the above link, which can be accessed within SISTEMA. This means that you don’t need to waste time and effort hunting for safety characteristic values. You simply select the product you wish to use and the SISTEMA software will calculate the rest.


Screenshot of the SISTEMA Software wizard

4. How can I be sure that I am using the best products for my application?

At Phoenix Contact we offer a complete range of products, which can solve even the toughest and most demanding applications.

From the humble safety relay, right through to full blown Safety PLCs we have a huge range of product along with vast experience to meet your requirements.

One example of our innovation is ‘SafetyBridge’. This product allows you the flexibility to add distributed safety I/O where required on your machine or plant. This system can be integrated with standard non-safe PLCs of any make, and with existing network cabling i.e. (Profinet, Profibus, Ethernet I/P) etc. This saves a huge amount of hardware and software cost in comparison to a Safety PLC solution, as well as reduced integration effort.


safety bridge technology

5. I want to transmit safety signals wirelessly, surely this is not possible?

In actual fact, if you use our WLAN or Bluetooth devices in conjunction with our Safety Bridge product you can transmit safety signals wirelessly. The highest safety levels can be achieved in accordance with the latest standards (ISO 13849-1 & 62061). This means that you can achieve PLe/SIL3/Cat4 systems wirelessly.

This is extremely useful for certain applications where the cabling for the safety circuit is difficult or the cable is prone to breaking. A good example is a transfer car application.

You can out more about this unique and innovative offering, here.


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