At Spiroflow Automation, we regularly integrate safety systems for our customers, specifically hardwired safety circuits, safety relays, and safety PLCs.
A safety PLC system often replaces a hard-wired safety relay system. End users typically need safety PLCs to meet internal requirements or regulatory requirements for systems that require a safety circuit.
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Combustible Dust/NFPA 664
Combustible dust can be a serious hazard in manufacturing. NFPA 664 has established requirements for facilities that process wood or manufacture wood products. Spiroflow Automation has extensive experience with dust collection systems and NFPA 664 requirements. We provide consulting services for current dust collection systems, evaluate spark detection, suppression, deluge, abort venting, and adherence to NFPA requirements. We also provide engineering services for the addition of detection, prevention, and automated responses within a combustible dust system and the process equipment that is integrated into a dust system.
Ammonia detection is required in facilities that use ammonia as a refrigerant. Our automation solutions are designed to keep your employees safe. We can meet all of your requirements to monitor and mitigate leaks.
Ammonia leaks can be extremely hazardous and a facility’s compressor room is the most common place for an ammonia leak to occur. It is vital that warning systems are in place so employees can promptly leave the area.
We strategically put detectors near equipment that uses ammonia. Those sensors are monitored throughout the entire plant and are interlocked with the control equipment. If a leak is detected, the units are automatically shut down, an alarm is activated, and vents are opened. The sensors can be monitored off site if requested. This will allow an operator to check ammonia levels without having to enter the plant. It’s all about safety. Ruptures happen. The goal is to always minimize the potential for danger.
What is a Safety PLC?
A standard PLC and a safety PLC can run logic for machine control but a safety PLC has additional hardware for redundancy and self-checking. They are configured to meet performance levels and safety integrity levels required for a certified or valid safety system.
End users often need to revamp their safety systems. Our team often performs migrations from older obsolete safety relay hardwired systems to new flexible safety PLC based systems. End users even utilize a safety PLC when they don’t initially need one knowing it ensures flexibility for future expansion.
On the software side, the logic is locked with a safety signature to ensure the code has not been changed. Once validated with a signature a unique identifier is filed in the documentation to guarantee its reliability. This is a crucial step in the process because it safeguards the owner from liability and provides peace of mind knowing that no one has changed the safety system after its original implementation.
How does a Safety PLC Work?
A safety PLC contains redundant hardware for self-checking and redundant I/O for dual channel inputs, E-STOPs, and other safety critical functions. Dual channels so required for redundancy and the I/O must be configured for both I/O monitoring and alarming. Monitoring ensures that if a wire is removed or a relay contact fails on a field device an alarm will be triggered and the process will be stopped.
A reliable safety system starts with the hardware but the correct design, programming, and configuration of those components are critical for each application.
Importance of Safety PLC Design
The design portion of any safety system project is one of the most critical areas of work. End users often have a fully specified safety system plan in place or have an idea of what it should be but don’t have the capabilities to design it themselves.
At Spiroflow Automation we partner with both. For end users that already have a specific safety plan in place, we can fabricate the panels and provide design, programming, and documentation. For end users that have an idea in place, we can partner with them to create the optimal safety system that meets their internal standards and regulatory requirements.
Safety PLC Programming, Turnkey Projects & Third-Party Reviews
Spiroflow Automation brings their safety PLC experience to your turnkey project. Based on your requirements we create a design, build it, and program it then participate in the validation and acceptance testing of the system, commissioning, and start up.
Some end users have the capability to design and build a system but not program it so we only provide safety programming.
We also conduct third-party reviews. When another provider has created a system, we offer comprehensive third-party reviews to sure the system is designed to meet all of the safety critical functionality, all of the internal requirements and standards defined for the project, and all regulatory requirements.
Upgrading Your PLCs to Safety PLCs?
End users often reach out to us to upgrade their obsolete PLCs to a more current model. We are very experienced with PLC retrofits such as upgrades from PLC-5, SLC 500 and other manufacturers’ obsolete models to ControlLogix or CompactLogix. Other end users want to upgrade from standard PLCs to safety PLCs to meet internal requirements, provide expansion capability or more complex safety systems for the future.
Upgrading to a safety PLC provides flexibility and allows for easy future expansion ultimately guaranteeing that your validated parameters and design are locked in place.
Alternative Safety Systems
As an alternative to full safety based PLC systems the Spiroflow Automation team also designs relay based safety systems with safety relays, hardwired safety systems, or dedicated non-PLC based safety circuits. Cost may drive your choice but either way, we are more than capable to design, build, implement, and validate both types of systems.