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Functional safety

(PresseBox) (Leverkusen, ) The safety of plants must be given the highest priority during planning and operation. Automation makes a major contribution in this respect, the key phrase here being "functional safety". Reason enough for NAMUR to select this topic for this year's Annual General Meeting, which will be held on the 11th and 12th of November 2010 in Bad Neuenahr and deals with subjects ranging from the inception of safety technology to the outlook for anticipated developments in the future.

With more than 40 years experience in the area of safety and over 25,000 installed safety systems, HIMA is the ideal NAMUR partner for this year's Annual General Meeting.

Steffen Philipp, Managing Director and Partner, and Thomas Hinzmann, Director of the Process Automation Marketing & Sales and Service, will demonstrate in their opening presentation, "Functional safety free of compromises", that much more than the use of certified components needs to be taken into consideration when it comes to functional safety. On the contrary, the entire safety life cycle, the human factor as the greatest source of error and an intelligent integration of the safety solution in the automation environment should be looked at in a noholdsbarred manner with regard to plant availability and efficiency.

The majority of incidents involving safety can be traced back to systematic errors. Systematic errors of this kind should be countered with a management system suitable for this purpose (e.g. as described in the DIN EN 61511 international standard).

The spectrum of functional safety management and the correct application of the processes defined therein will be one of the main topics addressed in the HIMA presentation. The presentation will also demonstrate how the features of modern safety systems contribute to the support of these processes and help avoid systematic errors.

Safety solutions are not standalone systems, but in all cases integrated in an automation environment. This interplay with the remaining functionality unrelated to safety should not have any negative effect on functional safety. DIN EN 61511 therefore stipulates the independence of operating and safety equipment. This independence can best be demonstrated if the process control system and safety system are based on different platforms, development principles and philosophies. HIMA will present how, on the basis of open, industrywide communication standards, the complete integration required (the achievement of which is, indeed, imperative in today's environment) can be realised in compliance with standards and with all leading control systems.

Plant availability, a further important item in the opening presentation, is not achieved solely through the redundant interconnection of modules. Innovative safety solutions ensure uninterrupted plant operation - even during maintenance and when realising modifications. This enables the achievement of maximum process availability, and production processes can be designed in a more efficient manner and, ultimately, contribute to an environment where plants can be operated efficiently.

The forenoon session on Thursday will be completed with three contributions from NAMUR which address aspects such as the integration of functional safety in the overall plant safety concept and the concrete realisation of safety functions. Together with numerous workshop contributions addressing different topics and an interesting programme on Friday morning, the NAMUR Annual General Meeting 2010 promises once again to be an extraordinary "automation event".

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