When it comes to industrial machinery safety, the stakes couldn’t be higher. The machines are powerful, complex, and expensive, and ensuring that they are secure and protected is essential. To do so, industrial facilities rely on electronic security measures to manage access, protect data, and prevent accidents. For example, if you’re using Turbomachinery Control Systems, you can program access restrictions and system configurations to protect against unauthorized users, cyber-attacks, and other external threats. Additionally, electronic security systems can be used to monitor the activities of personnel within controlled areas to ensure safety measures are being followed. Withdrawal of access rights or machine shutoffs can be used as deterrents for improper behavior.
Protecting Workers and User Safety
Although technological advancements have made industrial processes quicker, safer, and more reliable, safety is still a major concern when it comes to machinery. The human-machine interface (HMI) allows users to interact with various automated processes and perform tasks without the need for direct physical interaction with the machines. However, this interaction may be dangerous if appropriate safety procedures are not in place.
Installing electronic security measures such as sensor systems that detect faulty operations or unpredictable behavior can lessen the risk of injuries. Along with this, proper signage, machine guards, and training and education contribute collectively to maintaining a safe working environment.
With the installation of safety measures mentioned above, the workers and other personnel can work confidently, knowing their safety is guaranteed, and in the case of an emergency, it will trigger safety mechanisms, ensuring their safety.
Protecting Industrial Machines from External Cyber Threats
As industrial machines increasingly connect to the industrial internet, data and communication between the connected devices can be compromised by external cyber threats. In turn, this can lead to the entire industrial process becoming compromised.
Phishing, malware, viruses, and other types of cyber threats can put your industrial processes at risk by shutting down servers, stealing data, or corrupting the connection between machines. Properly configured Network Access Control (NAC) is an essential security component to secure industrial machinery.
Understanding Electronic Security Measures
Electronic security measures refer to systems that use electronic technology to safeguard assets and people, including machines, facilities, and data. Electronic security plays a critical role in protecting industrial machinery, enabling companies to minimize the risk of theft, unauthorized access, and potential employee harm.
When it comes to industrial machinery safety, electronic security measures can be divided into several types. These include video surveillance, access control, fire and smoke detection, and intrusion detection systems.
The Benefits of Electronic Security Measures
The benefits of electronic security measures for industrial machinery safety are numerous. Here are a few of the most critical benefits:
1. Improved Machinery Safety: Electronic security measures can mitigate risks associated with machine operation by keeping unauthorized personnel out of machine workspaces and controlling who has access to safety features. They can also alert relevant parties during an accident or security breach.
2. Enhanced Data Security: Electronic security measures can protect sensitive business data by preventing unauthorized access to critical systems and data storage.
3. Reduced Theft Risk: Electronic security measures can reduce the risk of theft and loss of business assets by deterring criminals and monitoring activities in sensitive areas.
4. Improved Compliance: Electronic security measures can help companies remain compliant with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other safety regulations that they must adhere to keep their workers safe.
5. Cost Savings: By implementing electronic security measures, businesses can reduce their insurance premiums and avoid losses associated with accidents, theft, and injuries.
Different Types of Electronic Security and Their Advantages
1. Safety interlocks: These devices use mechanical or electrical switches to prevent the use of machines until certain conditions are met, such as opening or closing of doors, gates, or covers; engaging or disengaging of brakes or clutches; or positioning of tools or workpieces. Safety interlocks can be designed for single or multiple machines and can be integrated with controls such as alarms, lights, or lockouts to ensure safe operation.
2. Light curtains: These are beams of infrared or visible light that are used to detect the presence or absence of objects in front of or between machines. When an object breaks the beam, the machine is automatically stopped or prevented from starting until the object is removed or cleared. Light curtains are often used for high-speed or long-reach applications where mechanical guards would be impractical or inconvenient.
3. Pressure mats: These are mats or pads that are placed on the floor or around machines to detect the weight or pressure of objects or people stepping on them. When the weight or pressure exceeds a certain threshold, the machine is either stopped or prevented from starting until the weight or pressure is removed. Pressure mats are often used for low-speed or low-reach applications where proximity sensors or light curtains would be overkill or oversized.
4. Safety scanners: These are sensors that use laser or ultrasound technology to detect the presence or distance of objects in front of or around machines. Safety scanners can create 2D or 3D images of the machine environment and detect even small or moving objects that might escape the detection of other sensors. Safety scanners are often used for complex or dynamic applications where objects’ shape, size, or speed can vary significantly.