Enhancing machine safety with device-level intelligence

06 June 2023

Find out more about a solution that enables real-time data to be collected from machine safety devices.

Safety devices such as emergency stop (E-stop) buttons, safety switches, and light curtains are crucial in manufacturing environments. Today these safety devices can be networked together to collect and report diagnostic information, which can be used to reduce wiring, make necessary adjustments and repairs, prevent erroneous production stoppages, and reduce unexpected downtime.

Banner Engineering has developed a system, called In-Series Diagnostics (ISD), which is able to collect real-time data from its machine safety devices. By connecting each emergency button, switch, or gate to a centralised controller, engineers can gather immediate feedback whenever a safety device causes machinery to stop. It identifies which device engaged, where, and when. 

ISD-equipped safety devices transmit information to a centralised controller. These data points include the individual device ID, the device’s specific location, on/off signals, voltage use, and internal temperature. Device-specific data points are also shared – for example the alignment and distance between a safety switch’s sensor and its actuator.

Banner ISD safety devices are pre-configured to connect to an ISD safety controller. However, users who already have machine safety devices from other manufacturers can use a compact adapter called ISD Connect, which provides a convenient tee connection to link those devices to an ISD system.

The safety devices can be connected together in a network configuration to reduce the amount of physical wiring, simplify signal paths, and decrease the number of I/O connections to the safety controller.

Traditionally, wiring each device directly to a controller required long cables leading to crowded banks of controller inputs, whereas daisy-chaining sacrificed the ability to determine which specific device was responsible if machines stopped running. With ISD, an ID is assigned to each safety device so the devices can be daisy-chained, but information can be tracked to individual IDs anywhere in the system. Up to 32 devices can be linked to one ISD chain, using standard 4-pin cables.

Consolidated I/O
Unlike traditional safety controllers and PLCs that require individual inputs for every device, ISD consolidates I/O. Up to 32 separate safety devices can be connected to an ISD chain, and then connected to the ISD controller with just two wires. This reduces the amount of hardware in control cabinets and it simplifies inventory required for building machine safety systems.

A software programming tool offers a function-block method for customising the logic for ISD safety systems. In the on-screen application window, operators just need to drop in the devices they want to use, add the logic blocks and connect the outputs to complete the system. A simulation tool then helps users pre-test customised system logic.

At system power-up all devices connected are identified as a baseline, and then any changes are reported to the PLC. 

Dynamic safety applications are supported as well, such as temporary subassembly stations on a production line, or AGVs with removable trailers. An export-tag feature creates a file for all tag values that can be imported to the PLC for streamlined integration with the controller. 

Data from devices and other elements of the safety controller can be sent over a variety of industrial Ethernet protocols – including Ethernet/IP, ProfiNet, Modbus TCP, and EtherCAT, available with the XSeCAT EtherCAT Communication Module – and machine safety configurations can be uploaded to multiple devices. 

The system can send automated notifications about potential system issues along with information about which part of a machine to look at first. In addition, diagnostics can be added to online dashboards to keep track of metrics reflecting the number of stoppages, the specific parts of a machine or factory floor that require more attention to prevent downtime.

Contact Details and Archive...

Print this page | E-mail this page