Nexdorf Electrical has upgraded an aerospace test rig for Airbus so that 30 emergency stop pushbuttons and other safety devices are monitored by an ASiSafe-based Siemens ASI F-Link Safety PLC.
More than 200 Airbus A380s have so far been ordered, and more than 40 are already in service. The landing gear for the A380 is engineered in Filton, near Bristol, and all landing gear must be tested thoroughly to ensure it is in full working order and complies with aviation authority regulations.
Testing is undertaken using a large rig, which has multiple levels and points of access due to the size of the parts. To comply with the European Machinery Directive, emergency stop buttons must be used on the test rig, enabling power to be cut instantaneously in case of a problem. However, the Airbus test rig features in excess of 30 buttons to enable power to be cut from multiple points around the large structure.
Although the high volume of buttons was necessary to ensure that the test rig was safe, on occasion an emergency stop button can be pressed in error during maintenance or everyday operations. In such circumstances, an Airbus engineer would normally need to manually walk round the test rig and visually check each button to establish which had been pressed in error. Airbus was looking for a way to automate this procedure to enable it to be carried out more efficiently; the company therefore approached electrical engineering company Nexdorf Electrical.
Nexdorf Electrical specified the Siemens ASI F-Link, which uses ASi Safe (also known as AsiSafe and AS-Interface Safety at Work). The system directly links all safety devices, enabling them to be individually assessed from a safety PLC. For Airbus, instead of an engineer manually walking around the test rig to check each emergency stop, they can now simply look at the safety PLC, which clearly shows which button has been pushed.
This system has enabled Airbus to maintain a comprehensive safety system for its test rig, while optimising operational efficiency.
Gareth Trewartha of Nexdorf Electrical, comments: "Having worked with Siemens on many occasions before, I was familiar with the Siemens ASI F-Line solution and felt that it was exactly what was required for the Airbus application. A company the size of Airbus is responsible for the safety of many people, both staff and customers. For this reason, safety is of great importance to the company. By installing the Siemens solution, Airbus has been able to maintain the high levels of safety required, whilst ensuring that they are operating at optimum efficiency."
For more information about the Siemens ASI F-Link or to request literature, telephone +44 (0)845 7705070 or go to www.siemens.co.uk/automation.