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Update on the new IEC 62061 standard

IEC 62061: 2005 (Safety of machinery, Functional safety of safety-related electrical, electronic and programmable electronic control systems) was published on 20 January 2005. However, it has not yet been ratified as a Euronorm and harmonised to the Machinery Directive, so compliance with the standard remains optional.

Nevertheless, the acceptability IEC 62061 has now been agreed by the appropriate consultants and it is expected that a harmonised standard, to be known as EN 62061, will be published in mid-2005.

Regular readers of the Pilz Safety Update email newsletter will be aware of IEC 62061 because of two articles that have been written about it before. One of these discussed possible conflicts between this standard and the forthcoming ISO 13849-1 (Safety of machinery, Safety related parts of control systems, General principles for design), which can be read here , and there was an earlier article introducing IEC 62061 .

In essence, IEC 62061 is a machinery sector standard based on IEC/EN 61508 (Functional safety of electrical/electronic/programmable electronic safety-related systems), so companies that are already designing safety related electrical control system (SRECS) to IEC/EN 61508 should have a relatively easy transition to the new standard when it is harmonised.

The difficulty, however, will be for those companies that are used to working with BS EN 954-1 (Safety of machinery, Safety related parts of control systems, General principles for design), which is far simpler both to understand and implement.

To complicate matters further, EN954-1 is due to be replaced soon with ISO 13849-1 (Safety of machinery, Safety related parts of control systems, General principles for design), perhaps later in 2005. Although IEC 62061 includes a useful table that indicates which standard should be used under what circumstances, some machine builders may still be confused.

More information about IEC 62061 and its harmonised equivalent, EN 62061, will appear in Safety Update in the near future. Meanwhile, anybody who needs advice about IEC 62061 or assistance in preparing for the implementation of EN 62061 should contact Pilz.

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