Safely into the future

The automa­tion world is changing. Now more than ever. Key­words such as Indus­trial Secu­rity, Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence (AI), as well as open­ness and stan­dard­i­s­a­tion, are hot topics. As a reli­able partner for plant and machinery safety, Pilz takes its cus­tomers by the hand and walks the journey with them – through the trans­for­ma­tion and into the future.

The year is 2035: all machines are net­worked; com­mu­ni­cate with each other. They exchange valu­able data in real-time, which becomes infor­ma­tion in the cloud, thereby ensuring opti­mised machine processes. The data itself, and access to it, is pro­tected. Plant and machinery can there­fore work reli­ably; the built-in safety tech­nology does its job. Human and machine are pro­tected. The trans­for­ma­tion of the automa­tion world is com­plete.

What are the success factors for the safe automation of the future?

Firstly, open com­mu­ni­ca­tion stan­dards. Pro­duc­tion will only be able to draw on the full resources if we stan­dardise on a common denom­i­nator: machines speak one lan­guage, use stan­dard­ised, open infor­ma­tion tech­nolo­gies – as a result, data moves from A to B as quickly and effi­ciently as pos­sible. OPC UA is the stan­dard for data exchange, facil­i­tating cross-vendor net­working of plants, including con­nec­tion to the cloud. And that’s not just at con­trol level. As a member of the OPC Foun­da­tion, Pilz employees are actively involved in both the steering com­mittee and tech­nical working groups in the Field Level Com­mu­ni­ca­tion (FLC) Group. Pilz’s focus lies in the working group that deals with safety (Safety over OPC UA).

At sensor level, the future is already reality today: IO-Link Safety is the open com­mu­ni­ca­tion system for data exchange between func­tion­ally safe devices, such as sen­sors for example. Pilz is launching its first IO-Link Safety solu­tion at the 2023 SPS exhi­bi­tion, thus enabling its cus­tomers to take an impor­tant step towards open­ness.

The use of Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence (AI) is also another key driver for the future of automa­tion. Net­working and digi­ti­sa­tion result in increased data volume in pro­duc­tion halls. The chal­lenge: to con­dense the flood of data and gen­erate knowl­edge from it. In future, Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence can take over where human capa­bil­i­ties reach their limits. The time that’s saved can be used by employees for other activ­i­ties. But can you also entrust the field of func­tional safety to AI?

Cur­rently, Pilz experts are grap­pling deeply with the dif­ferent aspects of AI, to find out how Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence can be reli­ably utilised in the sen­si­tive area of machinery safety. They are also col­lab­o­rating in var­ious research projects on the future of safe automa­tion.

Production Employee

Humans are indis­pens­able in intel­li­gent pro­duc­tion. Unlike machines, they can inde­pen­dently assess sit­u­a­tions and make autonomous judge­ments; make deci­sions. Work sta­tions are adapted to the age and qual­i­fi­ca­tions of the work­force. In close coor­di­na­tion with the worker, for example, robots take on tasks that are phys­i­cally stren­uous or par­tic­u­larly monot­o­nous, while humans carry out higher-grade tasks.


Storage sys­tems of the future will be fully auto­mated, for example – that’s not only effi­cient, but also makes work easier for humans in terms of ergonomics.

Control Cabinet

Increasing minia­tur­i­sa­tion is having an impact, par­tic­u­larly in the con­trol cab­i­nets in the pro­duc­tion hall. These will be sig­nif­i­cantly smaller in the future, leaving valu­able space free for other uses.

Safety Light Curtain

Sensor tech­nology will become ever more impor­tant in the pro­duc­tion hall of the future. Because it will supply the data for pre­dic­tive main­te­nance, for example.

Control Room

Cen­tralised view of decen­tralised sys­tems: con­trol intel­li­gence migrates to the periphery. The con­trol room takes over the higher level con­trol, trans­parent to all machines – the new heart of the plant.

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Is the future of automation safe?

In the pro­duc­tion halls of the future, data is the new gold. Wher­ever there is data, there will also be poten­tial attackers wanting to tap it or pre­vent access to it. But that’s not all: Pro­duc­tion could be halted; in the worst case, safety func­tions on plant and machinery could be manip­u­lated, endan­gering employees.

Indus­trial Secu­rity pro­tects Safety. As far as the stan­dards are con­cerned, the EU Machinery Reg­u­la­tion has recog­nised the pro­tec­tion required for func­tional safety and has made Indus­trial Secu­rity mea­sures manda­tory by 2027. There is also the spe­cially devel­oped Cyber Resilience Act, which is cur­rently only avail­able in draft form, and the EU Direc­tive NIS2, which came into force in Jan­uary 2023. So, on the tech­no­log­ical side, tech­nical mea­sures such as net­work seg­men­ta­tion using indus­trial fire­walls must respond to the legal require­ments. Fire­walls sep­a­rate crit­ical net­work zones from each other, leading increas­ingly to pro­tec­tion against poten­tial external attackers. Then there are organ­i­sa­tional mea­sures, such as the reg­ular eval­u­a­tion of vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties and clo­sure of secu­rity loop­holes. Both pro­vide added secu­rity.

The industrial firewall SecurityBridge

Die The indus­trial fire­wall Secu­ri­ty­Bridge pro­tects indus­trial automa­tion net­works from manip­u­la­tion and unau­tho­rised access.
Indus­trial Fire­wall Secu­ri­ty­Bridge on the Pilz Web­site

As market leader in the field of machinery safety, Pilz grasped this con­nec­tion between Safety and Indus­trial Secu­rity at an early stage, and has added the impor­tant aspect of secu­rity to its existing range of ser­vices. With its training course for CESA – Cer­ti­fied Expert for Secu­rity in Automa­tion, Pilz pro­vides cus­tomers with key expert knowl­edge of the stan­dard IEC 62443, detailing how com­pa­nies can apply it when intro­ducing cyber secu­rity mea­sures into their own pro­duc­tion. With the new Indus­trial Secu­rity Con­sulting Ser­vice, experts from Pilz come on site and sup­port cus­tomers, from the pro­tec­tion require­ments analysis and iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of appro­priate coun­ter­mea­sures through to secu­rity ver­i­fi­ca­tion of plant and machinery. The number one objec­tive remains the pro­tec­tion of humans. This is the only way to bring the ideal vision of a pro­duc­tion hall from 2035 to life; a post-trans­for­ma­tion pro­duc­tion hall..

Visit Pilz at SPS 2023 in Nuremberg! 

How can we safely over­come the chal­lenges of dig­ital trans­for­ma­tion? At the exhi­bi­tion smart pro­duc­tion solu­tions (SPS) from 14 — 16 November 2023 in Nurem­berg, the automa­tion com­pany Pilz will be showing tech­nolo­gies and solu­tions that make machinery Safe and Secure. The focus is on: Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and Access Man­age­ment (I.A.M.), safety gate sys­tems, con­nec­tivity with IO-Link Safety and Fail-Safe over EtherCAT (FSoE). In the expert panel, live on the exhi­bi­tion stand, spe­cial­ists from Pilz will explain the new tech­no­log­ical and nor­ma­tive devel­op­ments in Safety and Secu­rity, such as the effects of the new Machinery Reg­u­la­tion, for example. 

Our presentation programme

Machinery Directive becomes Machinery Regulation! What will change for you?

The new EU Machinery Reg­u­la­tion 2023/1230 will replace the existing Machinery Direc­tive 2006/42/EC, which has been in force since 29.12.2009. It was pub­lished in the EU Offi­cial Journal on 29 June 2023 and enters into force in Jan­uary 2027. Man­u­fac­turers and oper­a­tors now have time to famil­iarise them­selves with the new Machinery Reg­u­la­tion. If you com­pare the automa­tion and engi­neering of today with the require­ments and tech­nolo­gies of 14 years ago, it is clear that the revi­sion is more than sen­sible. Digi­ti­sa­tion and net­working, as well as the new related issues of Indus­trial Secu­rity and Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence, have sig­nif­i­cantly changed fac­tory halls and the plant and machinery within them. Other changes that need to be noted will be cov­ered in the pre­sen­ta­tion.

What we offer for the Machinery Regulation

How best to pre­pare for the new Machinery Reg­u­la­tion (MR)
The new Machinery Reg­u­la­tion is coming – but what actual impact will it have on your processes? We’ll show how you, as a machine man­u­fac­turer or oper­ator, can best pre­pare to inte­grate the MR mean­ing­fully into your processes and plan projects geared towards the new spec­i­fi­ca­tions in good time.

Safety and Security on the machine – With the right access management, you’re on the safe side

Machinery safety is in a state of trans­for­ma­tion. Safety, meaning the pro­tec­tion of humans from machinery, is already enshrined in the Machinery Direc­tive. With the new Machinery Reg­u­la­tion, secu­rity mea­sures to pro­tect against manip­u­la­tion also become manda­tory. Using a case study, we explain how you can resolve both Safety and Secu­rity tasks in com­pli­ance with the stan­dards, using the elec­tronic Key-in-pocket main­te­nance safe­guarding system.

Safety locking devices for process and personnel protection – How do I find the right solution for my safety gate?

EN ISO 14119 reg­u­lates the require­ments on mov­able guards. When it comes to finding the right safety locking device, cri­teria such as the type of safety gate, the instal­la­tion sit­u­a­tion or the ques­tion of manip­u­la­tion pro­tec­tion have an impor­tant role to play. Find out more about how to find the optimum solu­tion for your appli­ca­tion, so you work safely and eco­nom­i­cally.

IO-Link Safety – Intelligent, safe communication up to field level

With IO-Link Safety, the open market stan­dard for sensor com­mu­ni­ca­tion (IO-Link) can now also be used for func­tional safety. In addi­tion to the classic IO-Link ben­e­fits, such as sim­pli­fied instal­la­tion due to stan­dard­ised wiring or expanded diag­nostic options, IO-Link Safety also offers sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fits in the area of safety. In the pre­sen­ta­tion you’ll dis­cover more about its func­tion­ality and appli­ca­tion in prac­tice.

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