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`First` DeviceNet Safety controller spearheads new safety business

01 April, 2005

Omron has created a new safety division in its automation operation, with the aim of doubling its safety business to •15bn (£73m) by 2007. It has also launched a safety network controller (SNC) which, it claims, is the first in the world to have a built-in DeviceNet Safety interface.

Omron sees safety as a key factor in achieving its ambitious growth target for 2010. The company already sells safety components such as light curtains, relays and switches, but the new division will also supply systems for complex safety circuits, as well as offering consultancy services.

For several years, Omron has been working with Sick and Rockwell to develop a safety version of DeviceNet. It claims that the DeviceNet Safety interface built into the new SNC (shown above) could halve the amount of wiring needed for safety installations compared to standard controllers. The reduced wiring will also help to minimise errors during installation and maintenance.

The •200,000 (£970) controller is designed to meet the requirements of SIL3 of IEC 61508 for functional safety, and CAT 4 of EN 954-1 for machine safety.

Omron says that several factors are contributing to the growing importance of the safety market. These include the increasing complexity of safety circuits for complex machinery. At the same time, companies are cutting back on experienced personnel with expertise in areas such as safety. These factors are creating a demand both for simplified safety installations and for safety consultancy.

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