New revisions to IEC 61496-1 (EN 61496-1) explained


The capabilities of light curtains and other optically-based ESPE (electro sensitive protective equipment or devices) have been something of a grey area in the past when assessing SIL levels to IEC 62061 or performance levels to ISO 13849. Now substantial revisions to IEC 61496 (EN 61496) at the start of 2014 are attempting to put that right. Dr Martin Kidman, a Safety Specialist at SICK (UK), explains how the changes affect the selection of appropriate protective devices in relation to the required performance level of the safety function.

New revisions to IEC 61496-1 (EN 61496-1) explainedThe relationship between a functional safety system’s safety integrity level (SIL – as per IEC 62061 / EN 62061) and performance levels (PL – as per EN ISO 13849) and those of the opto-electronic device described by Type, has now been defined in the revised standard (IEC 61496-1:2014 / EN 61496-1:2013, Safety of machinery – Electro-sensitive protective equipment – Part 1: General requirements and tests), which supersedes the 2004 versions and their amendments on 10 May 2015.

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