Maintaining a safe, regulatory-compliant, and profitable industrial process facility typically requires owner-operators to carefully scrutinize their investments in safety instrumented systems (SIS).
Because of the potentially hazardous nature of plant equipment, processes, and applications, the IEC 61511 safety standard requires users of SIS equipment to test those systems on a regular basis for regulatory compliance and performance. Previous standards did not require adherence to strict time schedules for compliance. As a result, the current landscape is littered with different, overlapping generations of safety equipment, often with gaps when it comes to meeting codes. This ARC Insight discusses the benefits of adopting the latest generation of equipment and applications with embedded diagnostics, rather than retaining existing, “proven in use” safety equipment for which the owner (rather than the supplier), bears responsibility for certification.
The IEC 61511 Functional Safety Standard for the Process Industries, developed for end users, system designers, and system integrators, is nearly identical to the ISA-84 standard. Both specifically address process industry safety equipment from a functional perspective. Compliance of SIS devices (pressure and temperature transmitters, level meters, flow meters, valves, switches, etc.) to IEC 61511 may be accomplished by either end user certification under "prior use" provisions (essentially “grandfathering”) or installing new safety integrity level (SIL)-rated SIS devices certified to IEC 61508.
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Keywords: Safety Systems, SIS, SIL, Diagnostics, IEC 61511, IEC 61508, ISA-84, ARC Advisory Group.