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Of safety, protection, and crisis management

The June 2017 issue of AppliedAutomation focuses on safety from a several viewpoints and what ties them all together.

Jack Smith
06/15/2017

If you think about it, safety is implied throughout this entire issue of AppliedAutomation—safety for processes, equipment, and from disasters.

In the cover story, the author addresses safety issues by advocating diagnostics. He writes: "Among the best practices and technologies available today are diagnostic functions built into smart field instruments that are capable of identifying covert failures as they happen." Using diagnostic functions to improve system safety, the author explains how to make temperature sensors smarter and safer, and spot tricky thermocouple failures and leaking rupture disks. In addition, he discusses adding diagnostics to the physical protection layer.

In manufacturing, so much emphasis is placed on sophisticated equipment that it's easy to overlook the enclosures in which this equipment is mounted. The second article asks 10 questions that should be considered before specifying or modifying industrial enclosures.

The third article presents a topic that isn't often discussed, but should be: crisis management. And it begs the question: What role should humans play in avoiding disasters? The author advocates a standards-based approach. He writes: "Arguably, the most advanced decision support systems may be found in the aircraft industry. But even these can go wrong sometimes, and it comes back to the skills and training of humans to avoid potential disasters, aided by a standards-based approach."

And as the author concludes: "So, maybe there is a balance between humans and machines that can ultimately make all of us safer. Let's try to find it."

This article appears in the Applied Automation supplement for Control Engineering 
and Plant Engineering

- See other articles from the supplement below.

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