Technological Innovation

What is the difference between 13849 and 62061?

In the field of technical safety, there are various standards and regulations that define the requirements for safety-related control systems. Two notable standards in this domain are EN ISO 13849 and EN IEC 62061. Although they both address safety systems, they differ in their approach and implementation. This article will delve into the differences between these two standards to provide a comprehensive understanding.

EN ISO 13849: A Functional Safety Standard

EN ISO 13849, titled "Safety of Machinery - Safety-related parts of control systems," provides guidelines for designing and implementing safety systems in machinery. It focuses on assessing the performance of safety-related control systems through the use of Performance Level (PL). The PL is determined based on parameters such as reliability, diagnostic coverage, and severity of potential injuries.

This standard adopts a probabilistic approach, utilizing methods like Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) to estimate failure rates. It also emphasizes the importance of validation and verification processes to ensure the safety integrity of the control system throughout its lifecycle.

EN IEC 62061: A Sector-Specific Safety Standard

EN IEC 62061, titled "Safety of Machinery - Functional Safety of Safety-Related Electrical, Electronic, and Programmable Electronic Control Systems," primarily focuses on safety systems in the automation sector. It encompasses various technologies such as electrical, electronic, and programmable electronic control systems.

Unlike EN ISO 13849, EN IEC 62061 follows a quantitative approach, defining safety integrity levels (SIL). SIL is determined through the analysis of failure rates, fault tolerance, and architectural constraints. Additionally, this standard highlights the importance of selecting suitable components and subsystems with proven functional safety performance.

Comparison and Applicability

Both EN ISO 13849 and EN IEC 62061 aim to ensure functional safety, but their applications differ based on the industry and specific requirements. EN ISO 13849 provides a broader approach that is applicable to various machinery sectors.

EN IEC 62061, on the other hand, targets safety systems in the automation sector, providing detailed guidance specific to electrical, electronic, and programmable electronic control systems.

It is important to note that these standards are not mutually exclusive; they can be used together or complementarily to achieve a higher level of safety in complex systems where both mechanical and automation controls exist.

In conclusion, while both EN ISO 13849 and EN IEC 62061 are safety-related control system standards, they differ in their approaches and focus areas. EN ISO 13849 takes a probabilistic approach with Performance Levels (PL), whereas EN IEC 62061 adopts a quantitative approach with Safety Integrity Levels (SIL). Understanding the differences between these standards allows professionals to select the most suitable one for their specific industry and application needs.


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