Safety: watch this space

Image credit: calignosus on flickr

Safety is showing up across a wide range of products and systems--there's a reason for that.

Safety has been an important part of ABB’s business (both in its products and in its own operations) for a long time, but there is a new level of focus apparent at Automation & Power World this year.  More safety products, more products with enhanced safety features–and I’ve hardly scratched the surface of the exhibit floor.

Luis Duran, safety automation guru, gave a video interview earlier in which he touched on several points.  One is the ongoing trend toward the integration of safety and automation systems.  He described the history of process automation in which these two systems were completely separate (70s and 80s), then were connected via communication “interfaces” (90s) and now are truly integrated into a single system.

Duran also pointed out that culture plays a big role in how safe any given company is.  Indeed, on a visit to Xtrata’s Nickel Rim mine in Sudbury, ON a couple of years ago I watched as our host picked up a small section of pipe from the parking lot.  This seemed a bit obsessive at the time, but that pipe would have been enough to sprain an ankle, causing a lost-time incident.  Xtrata’s Nickel Rim operations had no lost-time incidents in 2011.

As noted, there is much more in the way of safety-related products and systems on display here, so watch this space for more on this important topic.


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About the author

Bob Fesmire

Bob Fesmire is a Content Manager at ABB, based in Cary, North Carolina. He has written more than 150 articles and white papers on a variety of topics including energy efficiency, industrial automation and big data. In addition to his work at ABB, Bob is also the co-author of Energy Explained, a non-technical introduction to all aspects of the energy industry.
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