I've seen a wide variety of practices employed when people design and commission automated machinery, when it comes to evaluating risk and determining appropriate safeguarding. In some cases, it's just part of the design process, integrated into mechanical design as the various motions on a machine are envisioned. More commonly, it's a separate step (sadly, I think, sometimes just an afterthought) when a machine's nearly complete. There also seems to be a trend toward formal risk assessments, often involving outside experts.
I'm curious as to whether your practices are changing in this respect? What's driving the process -- new safety standards, insurance company mandates, corporate policy?
Ken... is your "practices" study limited to Robotic-type machinery, or are SIS (ESD) systems included?
> Ken... is your "practices" study limited to Robotic-type machinery, or are SIS (ESD) systems included?
Well, I'm mostly familiar with discrete manufacturing. I'm assuming that petrochem and other process industries may be more heavily regulated, as the consequences of an accident can be significantly more widespread. But I'm certainly interested, since Safety Instrumented Systems are foreign territory to me, and I think others would be, too.
There's also always the possibility that industry sectors might learn something from one another (it could happen!).
I'm related to the Gas Turbine based co-generation power plants.
The Industry nowadays give more importance to risk assessment in the design itself. Even if its the scope of a sub-plant and out of the main contractors scope, the main contractor seems to be looking towards the safety regulations followed( even if not asked by the owners).
This helps prevent unnecessary outages and guarantees better quality of products.
So overall, it helps add value or reliability to the service provided.
In Asian countries, SIS (EDS) are being incorporated to the main design although doesn't need to be certified.
Hope that's a good start...