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Post at 06 Jun 2024

What is CIP Safety?

Focusing on Allen-Bradley products, CIP Safety is a safety add-on built upon the standard CIP (Common Industrial Protocol) communication used in their automation systems. It allows for secure and reliable data exchange between safety-critical devices like:

  • Allen-Bradley GuardLogix controllers: These are programmable controllers specifically designed for safety applications.
  • Safety I/O modules: These modules handle safety-related signals from devices like emergency stop buttons, safety light curtains, and pressure mats.
  • Safety encoders: These encoders provide safe position, speed, and direction data for applications requiring precise control.
Compact Guardlogix 5380

Allen Bradley Compact Guardlogix 5380

Key characteristics of CIP Safety with Allen-Bradley products:

  • Reliable Communication: CIP Safety ensures critical safety data gets transmitted accurately and promptly even over potentially unreliable networks. This is crucial for functions like emergency stops and safeguarding personnel.
  • Leverages Existing Network: Unlike traditional wired safety systems with dedicated cabling, CIP Safety utilizes the existing Ethernet network used for standard control communication. This simplifies setup and reduces costs.
  • Safety Certifications: CIP Safety adheres to functional safety standards like IEC 61508, ensuring it meets industry benchmarks for safe operation.
  • Allen-Bradley Compatibility: CIP Safety seamlessly integrates with Allen-Bradley’s GuardLogix controllers and safety I/O modules, providing a complete safety solution from a single vendor.

Benefits of using CIP Safety with Allen-Bradley:

  • Reduced Costs: Eliminates the need for dedicated safety networks, lowering installation and maintenance expenses.
  • Increased Flexibility: Enables deploying safety devices in diverse locations without complex cabling.
  • Simplified Integration: Uses existing communication infrastructure for both standard and safety functions.
  • Improved Maintainability: Easier troubleshooting compared to complex wired safety systems.

Example: Emergency Stop with CIP Safety

Imagine an emergency stop button on a production line connected to an Allen-Bradley safety I/O module. When the button is pressed:

  1. The safety I/O module sends a safety message via CIP Safety to the GuardLogix controller.
  2. CIP Safety protocols ensure the message arrives promptly and accurately, with features like timestamps and error detection.
  3. The GuardLogix controller receives the message and initiates a safe shutdown of the production line.

This entire process leverages CIP Safety for secure and reliable communication, ensuring a safe response to the emergency stop.

Is There Special Hardware to Use CIP Safety?

No, there is no special hardware required to use CIP Safety with Allen-Bradley products, or any other CIP Safety implementation for that matter. This is a major advantage of the system.

Here’s why you don’t need special hardware:

  • Black Channel Principle: CIP Safety operates on the “black channel” principle. This means it treats the underlying network (Ethernet, Wi-Fi, etc.) as a “black box” and focuses on ensuring safe communication regardless of potential network issues.

  • Safety in the Software and Devices: The safety features lie within the CIP Safety protocols themselves and the safety-rated devices you use. Allen-Bradley’s GuardLogix controllers and safety I/O modules have built-in functionalities to handle safety data securely.

  • CIP Safety Protocols: These protocols ensure data integrity and timely delivery through features like:

    • Timestamps: Verify messages arrive in the correct order and haven’t been delayed.
    • Unique Identifiers: Each device has a unique ID, allowing the system to confirm the source and legitimacy of messages.
    • Error Detection Mechanisms: Detect any corrupted or missing data during transmission.

What you do need:

  • Standard Network Infrastructure: You’ll need an existing Ethernet network in place for CIP Safety to communicate over.
  • Safety-Rated Devices: You’ll need Allen-Bradley GuardLogix controllers and safety I/O modules specifically designed for safety applications and compatible with CIP Safety.

In summary:

CIP Safety leverages the power of your existing network infrastructure while adding a layer of robust safety protocols and safety-rated devices to ensure secure and reliable communication for critical safety functions.

How is CIP Safety Used in Industrial Automation?

CIP Safety plays a crucial role in industrial automation by enabling safe and reliable communication between safety-critical devices. Here’s how it’s utilized:

  • Emergency Stop Systems: CIP Safety allows for immediate and secure transmission of emergency stop signals from buttons, light curtains, or pressure mats to the safety controller. This ensures a quick and coordinated shutdown of equipment when necessary, safeguarding personnel and preventing accidents.

  • Safeguarding Personnel and Equipment: By facilitating communication between safety devices like safety interlocks and safety relays, CIP Safety helps prevent equipment operation when safety conditions aren’t met. This protects workers from hazards and minimizes equipment damage.

  • Implementing Safety Functions: CIP Safety enables the implementation of complex safety functions that require coordinated actions from various devices. Examples include two-hand control for machinery requiring simultaneous activation of controls, or safe speed monitoring for robots or conveyors.

  • Safety Device Monitoring and Diagnostics: CIP Safety allows for continuous monitoring of safety devices and their health status. Safety controllers can receive diagnostic information, enabling proactive maintenance and ensuring the continued functionality of the safety system.

Here’s a breakdown of a typical CIP Safety application:

  1. Safety Devices: Emergency stop buttons, safety light curtains, safety interlocks, etc., are connected to safety I/O modules.
  2. Safety I/O Modules: These modules convert physical safety signals (button press, light curtain interruption) into digital data.
  3. CIP Safety Communication: Safety I/O modules transmit safety data via CIP Safety protocols over the existing Ethernet network.
  4. Safety Controller: An Allen-Bradley GuardLogix controller receives the safety data and processes it based on pre-programmed safety logic.
  5. Safe Outputs: Depending on the safety situation, the controller sends commands to actuators or control systems to initiate safe actions like equipment shutdown or speed reduction.

Routing of safety data across network types

Benefits of Using CIP Safety in Industrial Automation:

  • Increased Safety: Secure and reliable communication minimizes the risk of accidents and injuries.
  • Improved System Uptime: Proactive safety device monitoring helps prevent unplanned downtime.
  • Enhanced Flexibility: Enables deployment of safety devices in diverse locations without complex wiring.
  • Reduced Costs: Eliminates the need for dedicated safety networks, lowering installation and maintenance expenses.
  • Simplified Integration: Uses existing communication infrastructure for both standard and safety functions.

Overall, CIP Safety offers a robust and cost-effective solution for integrating safety functions into industrial automation systems, promoting a safer and more efficient work environment.

Does CIP Safety communicate differently to a PLC?

CIP Safety communicates differently to a PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) compared to standard CIP communication. Here’s the breakdown:

Standard CIP Communication:

  • Focuses on exchanging data for control and monitoring purposes (e.g., sensor readings, actuator commands).
  • Doesn’t prioritize real-time delivery or error detection as stringently.
  • Uses basic message structures without features like timestamps or unique identifiers.

CIP Safety Communication:

  • Prioritizes safe and reliable data exchange for critical safety functions (e.g., emergency stop signals).
  • Ensures real-time delivery and utilizes error detection mechanisms to guarantee data integrity.
  • Employs specific message structures within the CIP protocol that include:
    • Timestamps: Verify messages arrive in the correct order and haven’t been delayed.
    • Unique Identifiers: Each device has a unique ID, allowing the system to confirm the source and legitimacy of messages.
    • Error Detection Mechanisms: Detect any corrupted or missing data during transmission.

Think of it like this:

Standard CIP communication is like a regular conversation – you get the message across, but there’s no guarantee of immediate delivery or perfect accuracy.

CIP Safety communication is like a certified delivery service – it ensures the message arrives promptly, without errors, and from the authorized source.

Impact on PLC Programming:

  • While you’ll still use standard PLC programming languages for control logic, additional safety function blocks or libraries might be required when working with CIP Safety devices.
  • These libraries handle the safety-specific communication and logic within the CIP Safety protocols. They ensure the PLC interacts with safety devices securely and interprets safety data correctly.

In essence:

CIP Safety builds upon the capabilities of standard CIP communication but adds a layer of robust protocols and features specifically designed for safe and reliable data exchange in safety-critical applications. This ensures the PLC receives the necessary safety information accurately and promptly for immediate action.

Are there programming differences when using CIP Safety?

There are some programming differences to consider when using CIP Safety compared to standard PLC programming for control logic. Here’s a breakdown:

Standard PLC Programming:

  • Focuses on writing logic for control functions like monitoring sensor values, actuating outputs based on set points, and implementing control algorithms.
  • Uses standard PLC instructions like timers, counters, and mathematical functions.

Programming with CIP Safety:

  • While standard PLC languages are still used for general control logic, additional elements come into play for safety functions:
    • Safety Function Blocks or Libraries: These pre-programmed blocks or libraries handle the communication and logic specific to CIP Safety. They are typically provided by the safety device manufacturer (e.g., Allen-Bradley) and integrated into the PLC programming environment.
    • Safety Logic: You’ll need to define the safety logic within these libraries. This involves programming how the PLC interprets safety data received from CIP Safety devices (e.g., emergency stop triggered) and initiates the appropriate safe actions (e.g., shutting down equipment).

Key Differences:

  • Focus: Standard PLC programming focuses on control functionality, while CIP Safety programming adds a layer for safe communication and logic.
  • Instructions: Standard instructions are used for control logic, while safety function blocks handle CIP Safety communication and safety-specific logic.
  • Integration: Safety function blocks are integrated into the standard PLC programming environment for a cohesive program.

Benefits of Using Safety Function Blocks:

  • Simplified Programming: Pre-programmed blocks reduce development time and the risk of errors compared to writing safety logic from scratch.
  • Standardization: Safety function blocks ensure consistency and adherence to safety standards.
  • Certification: Some safety function blocks might be pre-certified for specific safety functions, simplifying safety system certification processes.

Overall Impact:

While the core principles of PLC programming remain similar, incorporating CIP Safety introduces the need for additional safety function blocks and considerations for safety logic within the PLC program. This ensures the PLC interacts effectively with safety devices and takes appropriate actions based on received safety data.

How Does CIP Safety Benefit the Integrator or Company?

Here’s how CIP Safety benefits integrators and companies in the industrial automation industry:

For Integrators:

  • Reduced Project Complexity: CIP Safety eliminates the need for dedicated safety networks, simplifying system design and installation. This translates to faster project completion and potentially lower costs.
  • Enhanced Safety Expertise: By integrating CIP Safety solutions, integrators demonstrate expertise in safety-critical applications, making them more competitive in the market.
  • Streamlined Maintenance: Easier troubleshooting compared to complex wired safety systems saves time and resources during maintenance.

For Companies:

  • Increased Safety: CIP Safety ensures reliable communication for critical safety functions, minimizing the risk of accidents and injuries, improving workplace safety.
  • Improved System Uptime: Proactive monitoring of safety devices helps prevent unplanned downtime due to safety issues, leading to higher productivity.
  • Enhanced Flexibility: CIP Safety enables deploying safety devices in diverse locations without complex wiring. This allows for greater adaptability and future-proofing of production lines.
  • Reduced Costs: Eliminates the need for dedicated safety networks, lowering installation and maintenance expenses.
  • Simplified Integration: Uses existing communication infrastructure for both standard and safety functions, reducing integration costs and complexity.

Overall Value Proposition:

CIP Safety offers a win-win situation for both integrators and companies. Integrators can showcase their safety expertise and deliver efficient project execution. Companies benefit from a safer, more reliable, and cost-effective automation solution.

Additional Benefits:

  • Improved Regulatory Compliance: CIP Safety helps meet industry regulations and standards for safety in industrial automation.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing your safety systems are robust and reliable provides peace of mind for both integrators and companies.

By leveraging CIP Safety, integrators and companies can create safer, more efficient, and adaptable industrial automation systems, leading to increased productivity and a competitive edge.

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