Siemens Energy & Automation Inc. has put safety on center stage, with the launch of an educational roadshow that features a full-screen movie production titled, “Safety: Uncover the Competitive Advantage.” The 45-minute movie premiered on Dec. 4 at a theater near Chicago, to a group of industry editors, safety experts, Siemens managers and customers. Beginning Jan. 23, the movie will serve as the centerpiece of a 45-city tour across the United States, to educate manufacturers on emerging safety standards, and how to deploy safety practices that improve bottom-line results.
In comments to Automation World, Tom Kopanski, vice president and general manager, Automation & Motion Div. of Siemens Energy & Automation, cited the need to educate safety system users throughout the manufacturing enterprise, from the traditional specifiers of safety systems—such as the control engineers—to manufacturing management, networking and maintenance personnel. Integrated safety systems increase uptime, improve asset management and productivity, and reduce costs due to lost production, injuries and workman’s compensation, Kopanski said.
Changing safety standards
Siemens E&A, based in Alpharetta, Ga., is an operating unit of Siemens AG. In creating the movie, the company tapped safety experts and safety system users from Astec Industries, Camotion, General Motors, Kuka Flexible Production Systems and RWD Technologies, among others. Case stories profiled in the film highlight changes in safety system regulations and technology, such as the move from dedicated, hardwired safety relays to more flexible, integrated systems that combine safety and automation, and are based on programmable logic controllers (PLCs).
An example of this is the Siemens Simatic family of safety-rated PLCs, buses and input/output devices, connected via the Profisafe network. Mike Bryant, executive director of the Profibus Trade Organization (PTO), in Phoenix, said the Profisafe protocol is a profile of the Profibus specification, designed to meet stringent safety regulations and requirements, such as those promulgated by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and certified by TUV and Underwriters Laboratory (UL).
The benefits of integrating safety and automation, as permitted under the most recent safety standards, include lower cost of controls, decreased machine downtime, faster time-to-market for machine builders, and reduced litigation for end-users.