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Nonstop safety

07 July 2008

In large process control applications, safety systems must maintain a difficult balance between two completely contrasting requirements: safety and availability of the plant.

Rolf Hafner shows HIMA’s new HIMax
Rolf Hafner shows HIMA’s new HIMax

Thinking about this problem for a number of years, HIMA’s Steffen Philipp says it has become the core idea behind his company’s launch of the HIMax safety system at Hannover Messe. HIMA, with an installed base of 20,000 systems, claims to be the largest independent manufacturer of safety systems in the world.

Mr. Philipp says that special care was taken in the development of HIMax to ensure that all maintenance, expansion, and modification work at the system can be performed online during process operation, without cutting back on safety. This even includes the execution of ‘proof tests’ which are now mandatory according to IEC 61508/11.

And the system is large: it can handle up to 6,000 I/O. Previous systems would consist of 500 to 800 I/O at a maximum, and were linked together for larger installations. Response time for HIMax is said to be 50 msec for 1,000 I/O—with half of the points being the more time-consuming analogue variety.

XMR system architecture allows users to adjust the redundancy of individual modules to the requirements of the differing process loops. XMR refers to the degree of modular redundancy in the system, with X = 1 to 4. The architecture allows for a completely redundant system to be located several kilometres away, ready to take over in the event of fire or water damage in the main control room.

photo caption: Rolf Hafner shows HIMA’s new HIMax

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