The capability of a machine control system to perform a safety function is expressed using performance levels (PL). This paper presents the results of a study where PL estimation was carried out for a safety function implemented using three different distributed control system structures. Challenges relating to the process of estimating PLs for safety related distributed machine control functions are highlighted. One of these examines the use of different cabling schemes in the implementation of a safety function and its effect on the PL evaluation. The safety function used as a generic example in PL calculations relates to a mobile work machine. It is a safety stop function where different technologies (electrical, hydraulic and pneumatic) can be utilized. It was detected that by replacing analogue cables with digital communication the system structure becomes simpler with less number of failing components, which can better the PL of the safety function.
- distributed control system
- risk analysis