In this article, Professor Siegfried Radandt, Technical Adviser of the Section on Machine and System Safety and internationally renowned explosion protection expert, explores the impact of digital transformation on safety risks and productivity of technical systems.
Professor Radandt discusses digital transformation in the following contexts: grinding plants, complex silo installation for combustible bulk materials, silo systems, transport systems, processing and cleaning systems, and other processing components such as weighing, pelletising, packaging, assessment of machine elements as components for machines, complete explosion protection plant, questions concerning the complex assessment of explosion risks, methodological approach to explosion protection, constructional explosion protection, fire monitoring of other machines, and silo systems with fire and explosion protection equipment.
As a foundation for understanding the topic, the basics of digitalization are described. Radandt also addresses the importance of the human factors (psychology, engineering, ergonomics) aspect of digital systems. He specifically considers the impact of psychological, cognitive and social factors on socio-technical systems and man-machine-systems.
The article identifies two key areas of development needed in digital systems: new approaches to user-interfaces and “safe system” risk analyses. To control complex cyber-physical-production-systems, man-machine-interfaces must be user-friendly. They should consider work tasks adapted to the capabilities and capacities of users like match information and a display with receptivity/capabilities/dialogue steps in harmony with human cognition.
A “safe system” risk analysis should include possible faults, errors, unwanted events, and effects on system behaviour. The analysis must be based on reliable information, in particular concerning probabilities. This allows developing strategies to deal with risks and to take risk reducing measures, i.e., keeping probabilities and consequences as low as possible. After taking such measures, a new risk assessment of the system is necessary.
Assessment of explosion risks and risk treatment needs to be done for all modules. In digitalized systems safety criteria needs to be considered when building the algorithm. Professor Radandt discusses how to meet these requirements, especially in complex systems. He offers practical examples and a process using a modular approach.The article provides the principles of sensor technology and the description/contents of algorithms in some selected examples.
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