Essential Devices in Functional Safety: Ensuring Optimum Protection Across Industries

14 Jun



  • Introduction
  • Popular types of devices used in functional safety
  • Profitable alliances made by top players in the industry

Functional safety is an integral aspect of system design that ensures equipment operates correctly even when faults occur. This concept is mainly applicable in industries where failure can lead to severe consequences, such as automotive, aerospace, industrial automation, and medical devices. With continuous technological advancements, the emphasis on functional safety becomes more pronounced, necessitating rigorous standards and protocols to safeguard both human lives and the environment.

A brief on functional safety

At its core, functional safety is about risk management. It involves the identification of potential hazards, assessment of risks, and implementation of measures to mitigate those risks. This process ensures that systems perform their intended functions safely and reliably, even in the presence of faults.

The main objective of functional safety is to reduce the risk of failures. This is achieved through a combination of preventive measures such as redundancy and fault tolerance, and protective measures including fail-safe mechanisms and emergency shutdown procedures. By addressing both hardware and software components, functional safety provides a holistic approach to system reliability.

Advanced functional safety devices enhancing safe and reliable system operations

Different devices used in functional safety ensure that various systems used across several industries operate safely and reliably, even in the presence of faults. These devices encompass a wide range of components, including safety sensors, controllers, and emergency stop devices. Among all, safety sensors are pivotal in functional safety systems, ensuring the reliable detection of potential hazards and enabling timely responses to prevent accidents. These sensors monitor various parameters, such as temperature, pressure, motion, and proximity, to identify unsafe conditions. In automotive applications, safety sensors are crucial for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving technologies, detecting obstacles and maintaining vehicle control. By integrating safety sensors into the design, manufacturers enhance the overall reliability and safety of their products, meeting stringent safety standards like ISO 26262.  Due to such potential features, the safety sensors segment of the functional safety industry is expected to generate the highest revenue of $3798.06 million from 2023 to 2032.

On the other hand, safety controllers are essential components responsible for processing inputs from safety sensors and executing safety-critical decisions to mitigate risks. These controllers are designed with redundancy and fault-tolerance features, ensuring reliable operation even under faulty conditions. In industrial automation, safety controllers manage emergency stop functions, safety interlocks, and safe motion controls. In the automotive sector, they oversee critical functions like braking and stability control.

Nonetheless, emergency stop devices provide a rapid and reliable means to halt machinery during hazardous situations. These devices are designed for immediate activation, ensuring that operations can be swiftly stopped to prevent accidents and injuries. Emergency stop devices include buttons, pull cords, and safety mats, commonly found in industrial settings.

ABLIC and Lattice Semiconductor's contributions to automotive and industrial safety

In January 2024, ABLIC, a group company of the MinebeaMitsumi Group ISO 26262 Automotive Functional Safety standards development process certification from third-party German certification company, SGS-TÜV Saar GmbH. In the automotive sector, the proliferation of advanced driver assistance systems, autonomous driving systems, electric vehicles and other new technologies has increased the demand for safety features that ensure automotive safety and security in the global market. With this acquisition, ABLIC’s functional safety compliant products significantly contributed to the safe design of future automotive systems, developing high safety products required by customers. Also, ABLIC envisioned offering safe semiconductor products for both automotive and user safety to a greater degree than ever before.

Similarly, in April 2024, Lattice Semiconductor, an American semiconductor company specializing in the design and manufacturing of low power field-programmable gate arrays announced its partnership with NewTec, a leading design house for customized system and platform solutions. Through this enhanced collaboration, the companies aimed to focus on bringing functional safety capabilities to customers by advancing functional safety for automotive and industrial applications. In addition, Lattice Semiconductor aimed to deliver innovative, low power Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) solutions that are scalable, reliable, and easy-to-use. This collaboration strengthened Lattice’s capability to develop collaborative solutions addressing industry challenges by providing ideal solutions to meet the ever-evolving safety standards and needs of its customers.

To wrap up, functional safety is an important aspect of modern engineering that ensures systems operate safely, minimizing downtime and reducing risks. By adhering to international standards and following a structured lifecycle approach, leading businesses could mitigate risks and protect human lives and environment in the future.

To get more insights into the functional safety industry, contact our esteemed analysts here! They will also identify potential investment opportunities across various regions.

Rosy Behera

Rosy Behera

Author's Bio- Rosy Behera holds a bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering and now she is a content writer by profession. She loves to portray her thoughts and ideas with a nice command of words. Grabbing an audience with her creative write-ups is one of her biggest assets so far. Apart from writing, she is a certified “Odisi” dancer and has done Gardharva in Drawing, Painting, and Arts. She always explores new things through travel and is a big foodie.


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