In a marketplace where many of buyers of firmly committed to “proven in use,” many projects are still using 30 year-old logic solver designs. Proven in use is a valuable concept especially for field equipment where it is hard to evaluate how well a product design will do when placed in contact with the process. However the environment in a control room cabinet is far more predictable.
New generation logic solvers are using new generation microprocessors, many of which have been designed for functional safety and certified by exida. These machines have extremely low dangerous failure rates. New generation logic solvers typically use hybrid architectures combining the best of the old 2oo3 and 1oo2D. And perhaps most importantly, new generation architectures have a far better interface to field equipment including built in HART for supplemental diagnostics and input function blocks preprogrammed to detect field diagnostics via out of range current signals. We never had that stuff back in the “old days” - 1990s.
The exida Safety Awards considered innovation in functional safety as part of the criteria. This is important because this innovation not only improves safety, but gives the user an opportunity to save money via less hardware and less engineering time. The only problem is learning a new system, and I understand that concern. I admit that I would rather not switch to Windows 8. However for safety system designs, think about the strong improvement in safety and lifecycle cost savings. Both are well worth the trouble.