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9/21/2017 What is meaning of FAILSAFE Systems?

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What is meaning of FAILSAFE Systems?

It is not possible to design fail proof product. It can be designed to be failsafe. Design of
atomic power plant is one example. There were many accidents in the plans. However these
were contained safely. The design of fail safe systems can be subdivided in

1) component selection/use and

2)system design.

The examples of component failure resulting in system failure are

1) push button opening after a long time

2) a potentiometer opening its wiper.

The component selection examples are as follows.

A potentiometer in a feedback circuit should be connected as shown.

While using it, it is natural for a used wiper to loose the contact with track. Right connection
limits the fault. In other case, it may lead to total failure. For this reason it is better to adjust the
reference to adjust the output than setting the feedback. This arrangement is used in DC drives.
Battery chargers etc.

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One more example from instrumentation side is to break thermocouple protection. It is normal
for a thermocouple to open after a long use. Since it is in the feedback path, output temperature
shoots up to highest value. A small circuit used to detect break helps in avoiding this.

A set reset lip-fop, as shown in the igure can be set and reset by the push buttons. Note that a
normally closed push button is used and it does not short on pressing, then the circuit will not
reset. Also note that an inverter is used on Q-bar, to drive the relay. It was possible to use output
Q directly. However if both inputs are present (signals from some other logic circuits) then both
outputs will be high. For avoiding this and making sure that Q-bar (OFF) prevails, use of inverter
is necessary.

In microprocessor based circuits, microprocessor is used for checking other circuit components
failure in the system. The microprocessors own failure is detected by using watchdog timer.
After the hardware detection circuit shuts off the system as per the requirements.

The system design examples are as follows:

A protection relay designed to switch ON, in case of fault, mat not come on if its power supply
is bad or connections are loose. A single-phase preventer working on zero sequence is one such
example. Hence protection relays are kept on in healthy condition and go off on fault. A fault-
indicating lamp should go off on fault, for reasons explained above.

A three-phase motor is used in forward/reverse mode with two contractors. The control circuit
below shows clearly that both contactors cannot be switched on simultaneously (thus avoiding
short-circuiting the lines). If motor is switched on in forward direction (or reverse direction), it
is necessary to switch it off before reversing.

In case of DC motor drives, dynamic breaking is used in case of power failure. The regenerative
breaking requires power for line communication of thyristors and hence to operate in case of
power failures.

PLC Redundancy is another method of making design fail-safe. The redundancy can be
achieved in many cases by Oring the circuits, or paralleling them. Filament type indicating
lamps have limited life. When these are used in fault annunciators, two lamps are connected in
parallel. There are lesser chances of both lamps failing simultaneously, resulting in the
redundancy. Similarly two battery cells can also be connected in parallel, with a series fuse for
each cell for isolating the faulty cell. The cells can be Ored by using diodes (again this serves
isolation of faulty cell).

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When using fault tripping circuits, and avoiding nuisance tripping, these are Ored and majority
voting is used.

In circuits where input signals change continuously, a standard signal is used for checking the
operation and if found faulty, the other circuit is brought into picture. In C-Dot exchanges all
control and power supply cards are used in redundancy mode.

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