A Straightforward Approach To SIL Certification
As we have discussed in previous articles and papers, the concept of functional safety is a confusing one. Unfortunately, the IEC 61508 and IEC 61511 standards are not easy to read and are open to interpretation. This results in a plethora of third-party companies and so-called experts making their own judgment on the appropriate implementation of these standards. While one could argue both for and against the approach of using a third-party to issue a certification to these standards, the fundamental problem is that there is room for debate. When safety is the core issue, there should be no debate, no uncertainty, and no confusion. An end-user implementing a functional safety solution should not feel as though the approach he is using is subjective, or that the vendors he has chosen are biased towards a particular interpretation of the standards.
General Monitors has listened to its customers, understands their frustrations on functional safety, and has provided a straightforward solution. We worked closely with FM Approvals, an internationally recognized notified body with a holistic knowledge of performance, hazardous locations, and functional safety standards to obtain a completely independent certification to IEC 61508 for our core field devices. To our knowledge, General Monitors is the only fire and gas detection manufacturer with such an extensive list of products with IEC 61508 certification.
It is important to emphasize that we changed nothing in our products or our design philosophy to obtain these IEC 61508 certifications. A customer would have purchased the same amount of safety and reliability with or without an FM product approval. Our self-certifications have supported our claim for years that our products are designed in accordance with the IEC 61508 standards. However, having seen the confusion in the marketplace regarding functional safety and in order to provide the most complete solution to our customers, General Monitors has gone beyond self-certifications.
Our number one priority has always been and will always be our customers. As such, our functional safety approach needs to satisfy the demands and needs of our customers. While self-certification is certainly valid, customers are asking for more – customers want the full backing and commitment of a manufacturer plus the certification of a globally recognized approval body.
In choosing a certification partner, it was important for us at General Monitors to work with an organization with an international scope and a recognized understanding of gas and flame detection technology as it relates to hazardous location, performance, and functional safety standards. FM Approvals meets this criterion and is the notified body that we worked with to obtain our IEC 61508 certifications.
Responding to market demands and customer needs is a top priority for General Monitors. Our primary objective is to design and manufacture robust and reliable safety equipment that saves lives and protects capital resources. Our work with FM Approvals to obtain IEC 61508 certification for our field devices is a testament to our commitment to safety and a reflection of our enduring commitment to our customers.
Please refer to our new whitepaper SIL 105: How Can IEC 61508 Approval Aid Users in the Selection and Application of SIL Suitable Fire and Gas Detectors? for a comprehensive discussion of IEC 61508 certification as it applies to fire and gas detection.
Visit our online SIL Resource Center.
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