Replacing a consortium monitor is fairly easy...
Recently we put together a how-to video showing you the simple steps necessary when replacing an AS-Interface safe input module. Recall that any AS-Interface safe input module can be replaced quickly and without the need for additional tools. A maintenance person performing this operation only needs an identical, new, out of stock replacement module; no specific knowledge of the operation of the safety system is necessary.
A step-by-step video
Every week I find myself helping customers getting their AS-Interface Safety at Work systems up and running. Some of those calls are concerned with new, first-time installations while others deal with installations that have been in operation for nearly 10 years. And since AS-Interface is an open, multi-vendor technology and Safety at Work (its safety technology) is supported by many competing companies, these conversations are not limited to setups using Pepperl+Fuchs' hardware exclusively.
Safety relays, e-stops, protective door switches, and safety pull cords can be used to protect machine operators
The idea of protecting machine operators is certainly not new. Safety relays and safety devices like e-stops, protective door switches, and safety pull cords with redundant contacts have been around for a quarter of a century(1). What has changed is how these devices can be used to offer operator protection, increase machine uptime, and reduce installation, maintenance, and troubleshooting expenses.
Now that networking safety has been approved for 10+ years and has gained broad acceptance, machine builders have more options than ever before(2). The G10 safety module is another important building block in enabling machine builders to design powerful and easy-to-use safety solutions. The idea behind this module family is simple:
Develop a safety solution that allows machine builders to keep using the conventional safe input devices they have come to trust over the years while enhancing overall system flexibility and reducing implementation and maintenance costs.
Using a "less is better" approach, the result is a tiny safe input module that makes any conventional, redundant safe input device—e-stops, magnetic door switches, pull-cord switches, protective door switches, to name only a few—part of the Safety at Work solution. Take a look at our video "How to Use a Safety Module with Any Conventional Safety Device" to see not only how easy it really is to use a conventional e-stop or protective door switch, but also how quickly user feedback and diagnostics information, that was previously difficult to obtain, can be created using this approach. No complex, time consuming, and costly hardwiring where logic is defined by moving wires among multiple, inflexible safety relays. No need to guess which safe input caused a machine shutdown. No need to ever touch a wire if the safe logic needs to be modified or extended.
Considering all the issues
I get this question a lot from users of AS-Interface safety at work: When should I use a Safety at Work device with integrated AS-Interface connection vs. a conventional safety device connected to a safe coupling module?
Safety relays have typically been used to safeguard machines and protect workers. But this approach has its drawbacks: The wiring is complex, it's inflexible, lacks useful diagnostics, and it's expensive.
When should I make the move from proximity sensors to industrial RFID?
It's all about the right tool for the right job. Sometimes proximity sensors are the best fit for your application. Other times, using industrial RFID is the way to go. While both proximity sensors and industrial RFID systems can accomplish the same task, it pays to know when to upgrade.