Can you afford not to certify your control system?
Article published in the iVT Magazine.
Legislative and standardisation authorities around the world are currently increasing the pressure on vehicle manufacturers to comply with safety standards for their electronic systems.
The whole safety area for electronic control systems may at first seem an insurmountable number of additional requirements to comply with. Nevertheless, there is not really any other choice than to work according to these standards. Even when there are no strict legislative requirements, the market will most certainly gradually increase expectations on products to be certified according to the relevant safety standards. And there will be a competitive advantage in doing so.
What do the standards require?
In general, the approach to demonstrate adherence to safety standards of modern electronic control systems in all types of industrial vehicles consists of both quantitative and qualitative evidence. The standards mandate a lifecycle model where risk analysis is performed early in the project. The main potential hazards involving the control system are determined, as well as a target level for safety. These levels are termed the safety integrity level (SIL in ISO 15998, IEC 61508, IEC 62061, ISO 26262) or the performance level (PL in ISO 13849). All later activities in the lifecycle are heavily influenced by the SIL or PL.
This introduction to the current most central directives and standards in the area of safety for industrial vehicles and machines will hopefully be useful for those new to the area of safety, and also have a calming effect regarding the work that has to be done. Ultimately, safety is about building better and more reliable systems. If you think safety is too expensive for your organisation, try having an accident!
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