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3 Important Factors in Evaluating your SIL Certified Device

Today there is a growing trend by end-users to require equipment manufacturers to get their safety devices IEC 61508 (SIL) Certified. That is an excellent trend for a number of reasons. One reason is because in order to get a device SIL Certified, a company must first determine the device’s failure rates and failure modes. This is usually done by having a Failure Modes Effects and Diagnostic Analysis, (FMEDA) performed. Among other things, an FMEDA Report will detail the device’s Architectural Constraints and its λDU (Dangerous Undetected Failure Rate). With any given values for maintenance parameters, (Test Interval, Test Coverage, and Repair Time), you can determine the device’s PFDavg (Average Probability of Failure on Demand ). Both the Architectural Constraints and the PFDavg of a device, together with its IEC 61508 Certification, are critical in evaluating whether or not a given device may be suitable for use in a Safety Function with a given SIL requirement. And both of these characteristics, together with IEC 61508 Certification, are what concern a Safety Engineer in his evaluation.

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