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Stewart Robinson

Principal Engineer, Senior Product Specialist Functional Safety

Stewart Robinson

Principal Engineer | Senior Product Specialist Functional Safety

What is your current role?

My current work includes, but is not limited to, providing Functional Safety Training for clients and colleagues both in the UK and in other parts of the world, My role also includes mentoring and coaching colleagues, checking reports produced by colleagues, and carrying out assessments and generating Safety Integrity Level (SIL) verification reports for a number of industrial sectors including machinery and process.

In addition to Functional Safety I also occasionally deliver training on other aspects of regulations and standards for machinery.

What is your academic/industrial background?

Higher National Certificate in Engineering

Member of the Institution of Engineering & Technology (MIET)

Member of the Institute of Measurement & Control (MInstMC)

Employment

1996 – 2011 Pilz Automation Technology, Safety Systems Consulting Engineer

I joined Pilz as a specialist on PSS (Programmable Safety System). This involved developing and presenting training courses for customers, delivering fully engineered solutions, and providing detailed technical support.

As Pilz moved into a formal global approach to providing Consulting, Engineering and Training Services to customers I became part of the team that led the successful setting up and provision of these services for the UK operation.

In year 2000/2001 I was part of the team that set up a Functional Safety Management System to comply with the requirements of IEC 61508, this resulted in Pilz UK becoming a certified organisation under the CASS scheme (the first part of the Pilz organisation to achieve anything like this). I also worked with the Services team at Pilz USA to set up their FSM system. The company now has a global certification from TÜV SÜD.

Previously

Technical Manager responsible for the “Technical and Training Centre” for a systems integrator and industrial controls distributor.

Service Manager for a UK Machine Tool manufacturer.

What was the route of your interest in engineering? / Why did you choose to become an engineer?

I have been interested in engineering since my earliest memories. I have always been fascinated with how things work and even as a child I would make my own repairs to mechanical and electrical equipment (sometimes with less than satisfactory results, early ‘learning opportunities’).

My early working life was as a ‘hands-on’ electrical technician (engineer) working with industrial machinery control systems and through part-time learning I developed my technical knowledge leading to me becoming a Professional Engineer.

What are your main areas of expertise?

My main area of expertise is ‘Functional Safety’ which can be loosely defined as the requirements for industrial control systems to have sufficient integrity to provide an acceptable contribution to risk reduction.

I am an active member of the British Standards Institution (BSI) committees that deal with machinery safeguarding (MCE/3) and Measurement and Control (GEL/65).

Nominated UK expert for:

  • IEC TC44 MT 62061 (Safety of machinery – Functional safety of safety-related control systems)
  • IEC TC65 WG16 (Digital Factories)
  • IEC TC65 JWG 21 (Unified Reference Model for Smart Automation)
  • IEC TC65 WG24 (Asset Administration Shell for Industrial Applications).

What specific tasks and responsibilities does your job entail?

My current work includes, but is not limited to, providing Functional Safety Training for clients and colleagues both in the UK and in other parts of the world, My role also includes mentoring and coaching colleagues, checking reports produced by colleagues, and carrying out assessments and generating Safety Integrity Level (SIL) verification reports for a number of industrial sectors including machinery and process.

In addition to Functional Safety I also occasionally deliver training on other aspects of regulations and standards for machinery.

What are your current key projects and who are your key clients? My ‘key clients’ include colleagues that are located in different parts of the world, particularly through my role with the global ‘Industry and Energy Products’ (IEP) team and the global ‘Advanced Manufacturing’ (AVM) team. My role is technical and doesn’t include any commercial responsibilities, which is usually where the ‘key client’ concept would be used.

What most excites/interests you about your role?

I am passionate about most of things that I do especially with regard to Functional Safety, so keeping up to date with standards and technologies in this area excites me. Passing this on to others through trainings and other means also excites me.

What exciting developments have you seen in the company since you started?

The most exciting thing for me personally was the global initiative of IEP.

What future trends do you see developing in your area of work?

With increasing levels of automation whatever we call it (e.g. Smart Manufacturing, Industry 4.0, Digital Transformation, etc.) there are inevitably emerging technologies that will be used in a way that has an impact on Functional Safety.

What is your biggest challenge?

Keeping up with the emerging technologies (see above) and finding ways to ensure that Functional Safety will be maintained.

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