The demands on modularity, scalability, openness and adaptability are steadily increasing in all areas of automation technology, including safety technology.

Accordingly, companies require individualised solutions for all types of applications ranging from small custom machines to complex large-scale systems.

AUTHOR: Dr. Martin Früchtl

It is for this reason that Beckhoff Automation offers the EL6910 TwinSAFE Logic Terminal and its derivatives, and lays the foundation for the next generation of safety control technology.

With the introduction of the TwinSAFE controllers, Beckhoff enters into a new era in safety technology while adhering to its concept of modularity.

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New features include expanded functions for highly granular, flexible modularity and scalability on the safety project level, which makes it possible to optimally adapt each solution to the respective safety requirements.

This article first appeared in Mining Review Africa Issue 10, 2019
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In addition, all new I/O (input) modules can now directly execute customer-specific safety projects, including communication with multiple participants.

That way, the control of the entire safety application can be distributed across multiple devices.

The TwinSAFE system can be adapted even more effectively to the specific requirements of a machine concept – from low-cost, stand-alone solutions with local inputs and outputs to centralised safety control with distributed I/O modules through to highly complex networks with distributed safety applications.

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And since the versatile spectrum of components covers a wide range of form factors, protection and connection technologies, all kinds of specific adaptations are possible.

With different settings and the corresponding configuration of replacement values for the interfaces between the various modules, users can implement highly sophisticated, modular and scalable architectures.

The benefit is that a single safety project can be used for an entire series of machines. For smaller versions of a machine, any modules not needed can simply be deactivated.

This reduces the engineering costs, because only a single safety project needs to be developed, validated and verified in accordance with applicable standards.

Expanded safety application variety

With the introduction of the new generation of safety technology, the TwinSAFE system can now support an even broader range of safety applications and use cases with freely selectable architectures depending on the individual system requirements.

Many factors make it possible to optimise the TwinSAFE system in accordance with any requirements.

These include the wide variety of the safety-oriented control solutions in terms of form factors and environmental conditions, the various expansion levels – from compact controllers to the traditional approach for centralised safety control to a distributed safety application – as well as the consistent safety engineering options.

It can also be easily and intuitively integrated into various systems, for example to add the capability for safety-relevant processing of analogue values to an existing architecture in order to meet changed requirements.