Understanding safety functions: Local control

Control system remote control schematic showing the local control and remote control locaitons, the machine controller and the control system I/O.

The local control function is important to understand when designing machinery control systems. If the failure of the local control function could lead to increased risk to the user, it is a safety function. This article explains the local control function from a functional safety perspective.

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Understanding Safety Functions: the start/restart function

Car engine start/stop button

After the safety-related stopping and the reset functions, the start/restart function is the next most common. Without a start/restart function, there is no way to make the machine do what it’s supposed to do. If you’re designing a machine control system, you need to understand this function.

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Understanding Safety Functions: the Safety-related stop function

A stop sign - A red octagon with a white border, and white block text reading STOP.

The most used safety function on machinery is the safety-related stop function. The requirements discussed in this post are not generally applicable to process-related stop functions unless the process and safety stop functions share the same control system hardware and software.

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Manual reset using an HMI

A Siemens HMI displaying control functions and data.

Update: Since this post was first published in 2021, things have changed a bit. There are now some safety-rated HMIs available from big controls companies like Siemens, so if you are considering this approach, consult with your controls vendor to see if their HMIs can meet the requirements of ISO 13849-1. Ed. – 2022-05-10 Question: Can…

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Understanding safety functions: Manual Reset

A reset button graphic

Following the risk assessment, risk reduction is the next step. A safety function is needed to reduce the risk when the control system is called upon. Safety functions are defined in safety requirement specifications. ISO 13849-1:2015 [1] describes some of the more common safety functions. One of the most poorly understood is the manual reset…

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