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SIL certification service for machinery launches in the UK

07 April, 2014

The UK subsidiary of the German TÜV SÜD testing and certification organisation has launched a UK-based Safety Integrity Level (SIL) certification service, that will help manufacturers of safety-related controls to assure their customers that their products comply with the required performance levels.

The initial phase of the new service includes a gap analysis to ascertain if a safety component will achieve the required SIL (Safety Integrity Level) or PL (Performance Level), or if other measures will be needed before certification. This will shorten the certification process, thus cutting costs and reducing time-to-market for manufacturers of safety-related control products.

“If a safety-related control function does not have the required integrity, it may fail unexpectedly and the machine will lose function – or worse, injure an operator,” says Paul Laidler, TÜV SÜD’s business director for machinery safety in the UK. “Any claim of functional safety for a component, subsystem or system should therefore be independently certified to one of the recognised functional safety standards.

“Our new certification service,” he adds, “will help manufacturers to assure customers that their safety control system will reduce the risk to the required level, once installed.”

The international standard, IEC 61508: Functional Safety of Electrical/Electronic/Programmable Electronic Safety-related Systems, is the basic functional safety standard applicable to all industries. EN 62061 and EN ISO 13849-1 are both derived from it and must be followed to demonstrate compliance with the Machinery Directive.

Laidler: helping manufacturers to assure customers

Either standard’s risk assessment process can be used to generate a performance level value, with EN 62061 using SILs and EN ISO 13849-1 using Performance Levels PLs as measures.

A SIL is determined primarily by assessing three factors: reliability; failure to safety; and management, systematic techniques, verification and validation. The highest SIL levels require greater compliance with each of these. 

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