Why is Functional Safety important?

Ensure that your products are safe and protect users from harm

Ensure that your products are safe and protect users from harm

Achieve Product Safety

At its core, functional safety is important because its sole purpose is to protect users from harm. Complex technology is an integral part of our day to day activities, and we demand that they are safe to use.

Functional safety is becoming more important in products of all types, industrial and consumer. as the types of controls being used are increasingly more complex and are safeguarding against many more instances.

In the past, a functional safety system may have simply been a resettable device like a washing machine with a non-resettable safety device for safety. However, today an interruptive, simple reset might not be appropriate for highly integrated robots or manufacturing systems. We require our appliances to be more controllable, robust, and reliable. No longer is a non-resettable safety device acceptable, users require a monitoring system that can implement safety on an ongoing basis. That same washing machine today will most likely have control functions that are intended to prevent unsafe operation, e.g. thermal cutoff and door locking.

Why is Functional Safety ImportantProducts are becoming more automatic and autonomous. Consider mobility – many manufacturers are making strides towards fully autonomous vehicles; vehicles where no driver input is required - commercial vehicles such as transport vehicles and mass transit, and delivery and conveyance industries such as DoorDash and Uber. Functional safety in this area is paramount for the safety of passengers and pedestrians.

In manufacturing facilities, functional safety is critical to safe operation. Functional safety systems can give operators far better operational metrics and control of the equipment under use. From a business standpoint – functional safety allows manufacturers to operate with confidence in a well-defined functional safety environment. This benefits them in terms of increased efficiencies, fewer downtimes, and the resulting cost savings.

There are regulatory demands for functional safety with many industry-specific legislation requirements, and more coming online as the controller systems become more integrated and complex. Legislation is being driven not only by governments but also by consumer protection groups, and manufacturers. In automotive for instance, functional safety demands are not being driven by government agencies but from manufactures themselves. Manufacturers understand that for autonomous vehicles, passenger and pedestrian safety simply cannot be compromised; for example, multiple functional safety systems are integrated to help with obstacle avoidance, safe braking, etc.

As end users, manufacturers, and regulatory authorities demand more safety and confidence within all products, legislative requirements will increase and compliance with them will be the only way to enter marketplaces.

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