How can you create machine control systems that are both safe and wireless? In this Ask the Expert video, FORT CTO and Certified Machine Safety Expert Nathan Bivans explains the concept of wireless machine safety and how wireless safety commands can be sent with the same level of reliability as wired solutions.
Introduction to Wireless Machine Safety
As automated machines become more mobile, wireless safety is becoming an important concern. We often hear from engineers wondering how a Wireless E-Stop, for example, can be both safety-rated and wireless.
Not only is wireless safety possible and in use today, it’s often preferable and easier for mobile machine systems. In large facilities or outdoor applications, long runs of wire can be cumbersome, expensive, and require extensive and ongoing maintenance. Eliminating wires can not only eliminate a lot of hassle, it can enhance safety for mobile machinery, and maximize efficiency for a number of machine applications.
Here's what Nathan Bivans has to say about how wireless machine safety works and why it's useful for machine developers, managers, and operators.
How Does Wireless Machine Safety Work?
Wireless safety is admittedly a very new concept. But it really uses the same kinds of techniques that existing safety solutions use today.
The difference is that we’ve had to embed more intelligence in each end. This means multiple processors and a lot of redundancy, and parallel communications to enable the same levels of safety you’d get for, let’s say a traditional e-stop button.
We can achieve the same thing over wireless just by putting more intelligence, more software and more hardware at each end. This gets the same kind of performance you get over a wire, but over wireless.
This obviously enables a whole new set of applications where it's just not practical to either pull a wire around, or have to run to a fixed location on a wall, or run up to the back of a robot and try to stop it if that’s the thing that’s dangerous.
One of the big advantages of having this intelligence at each end and not relying on the characteristics of the network itself is that we can use our safety technology over virtually any network: wired, ISM radio, ethernet, Serial buses, CAN buses, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, LTE, and cellular. We’ve demonstrated all kinds of applications, which enable you to extend the safety network in ways that just have never been possible before.
For more information, or to learn how wireless machine safety can benefit your operation, schedule a consultation with a FORT wireless specialist.