Functional Safety Turns 100

Functional Safety Turns 100

Today marks the 100th blog in my Safety Matters series of functional safety blogs. The first blog in the series was posted on the ADI EngineerZone community on 4th January 2018 which it is hard to believe was over six years ago.  

Topics covered across the 100 blogs include: 

How it All Started  

I attended a blog writing session in the Limerick office and thought I can do that, and it could be interesting. (At that point, I had been working in industrial safety for six years and in automotive functional safety a few years before that.) It turns out it is easy and very interesting, that is if I can remember all the clever ideas that come to me when I run. Blogging has also tremendously increased my LinkedIn followers and connections, which is great!  

My blogs have mostly covered functional safety, but also delved into cyber security since you cannot be safe if you are not secure. However, it's been difficult to predict which blogs will receive a lot of views and which ones won't.  

Overall, the reaction to the blogs has been positive and I have tried to answer all the questions asked in the comments. I find writing the blogs forces me to understand the topics myself. I am often surprised by the level of interest in certain posts. For example, my blog on reliability equations got almost 7,000 views and 63 interactions on LinkedIn in the first 24 hours. (I thought people wouldn’t like all the math.) 

When/Where Can You Find Me?

Image of Tom Meany at marathon before run

The blogs are published on The EngineerZone Spotlight, the second Tuesday of every month. Initially, I used to publish two blogs a month, but now it's down to one (leaves me more time to enjoy marathon running). Thanks to the EZ team for proofreading the blogs and selecting imagery to accompany them each month. 

On the other Tuesday’s I often post "mini blogs" (see here) which are just a picture and a sentence or two as opposed to the 750 words or less (a rule I break frequently) in a “full” blog.  

What’s Changed in the Functional Safety World Since Blog #1 

Things which have changed since I wrote the first blog on this series. 

  • IEC 61508 revision 3, first CD is published 
  • First CD of IEC TS 61508-2-1 covering functional safety of semiconductors has been published 
  • ISO 10218:2024 on functional safety of industrial robots is almost ready to go 
  • IEC 61496-3:2023 including functional safety for 3D TOF is published 
  • ISO 13849-1:2023 on control system for machine safety published 
  • IEC 61784-3:2021 covering functional safety of black channel networks published 
  • ISO TR 5469-1 has been published to set a framework for the use of AI in safety systems 

Cyber security has become more prominent, and we wait to see which standards will be nominated as giving a presumption of conformity – my bet is on IEC 62443-4-X. 

There are many more developments since 2018, but the ones above are the ones that come immediately to my mind.  

My Favorite Reader Comment 

I was impressed that on 22nd December 2022 the International System Safety society reposted my blog entitled Functional Safety of Christmas Trees with the comment that “Tom Meany’s blog post gives a brief intro to an interesting new FuSa standard covering functional safety in the home. Plus, some fun ideas for mitigating Christmas tree risks. Tom’s blog is always interesting and worth following”.  

It is also fun to see who will repost my content, like my mini blog about cobot and Wordle that was shared by the president of Teradyne. 

LinkedIn post with a Wordle puzzle displaying the word cobot

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What’s Next for “Safety Matters?” 

If you like my blogs the good news is that there is no shortage of material or topics. Topics I hope to cover before the end of the year include. 

  • Residual error rates due to corruption in an analysis according to the black channel standard IEC 61784-3 
  • Residual error rate due to timeliness, authenticity, and masquerade 
  • IEC 61784-3 implicit data transmission 
  • Something on ADI’s new SIL 3 power supply monitor the MAX42500 
  • Accuracy vs safety accuracy 
  • Perhaps, something on secure authenticators such as the MAXQ1065 and their role in achieving SL 3 according to IEC 62443 
  • The use of probability in safety 

If the second CD or CDV of IEC 61508 revision 3 is published later this year, it might be a good topic for a few blogs. But be warned, the topics I write about tend to be based on what is on my mind in any given week, so the agenda is subject to change. 

I would also like to eventually do a few blogs on intrinsic safety. I might start with the basics such as creepage and clearance which are also important for functional safety.  

If you would like to suggest a functional safety related topic, please do so in the comments. However, given this is the May blog my list above would already take me into 2025, who knows I may even write 100 more. We long distance runners have a lot of endurance! 

Watch this Space! 

For previous blogs in this series see here 

For the full suite of ADI blogs on the EngineerZone platform see here 

For the full range of ADI products see here