With its "Safety Consulting" service offer, Siemens is committed to advising manufacturers of machines and plants on machine safety and risk assessment. The tool of choice for the implementation and documentation of risk assessments is the CE software "Safexpert". Thomas Kahabka, Technical Consultant at Siemens, explains the added value that customers can expect from the Safety Consulting and the benefits that arise from using Safexpert - both for the consulting experts and for Siemens customers.
Key statements from the interview:
The risk assessment starts already during the conception or design of machines and plants. This is exactly where the Safety Consulting service comes in. In order to enable the legally required "integration of safety", Siemens' consulting services ideally start as early as during the machine design phase. According to Thomas Kahabka, different services can be provided by Siemens depending on the customer's requirements:
„It is important to us to orient our consulting services to the needs of our customers. Some machine or plant manufacturers only need support at the start of a project (e.g. in selecting which EU directives are to be applied or how the risk assessment should ideally be structured), while others would like support throughout the entire process. We see our role primarily as "supporters" in the risk assessment or conformity assessment process. In doing so, we pay particular attention to the individual requirements of our customers. For some clients, the moderation of risk assessments is a priority, others would like sparring partners to question the safety-related solutions with external experts, and still others would like continuous process consulting. We can also assist in the verification of the selected components by means of the Safety Evaluation in the TIA Selection Tool.“ Regardless of the type of support chosen, Kahabka emphasises the partnership with the customer's technicians (e.g: Mechanical designers, electrical designers, control engineers, pneumatic or hydraulic designers, ...) : „The best solutions are created by combining the industry knowledge of our clients with the expertise of our consultants. Our consulting approach is based on long-term cooperation. We want to support our clients exactly where they need help most urgently. We are convinced that recurring cooperation for all parties involved is preferable to short-term intensive consultations.“
Through many years of experience in safety engineering, Siemens has been able to try out a variety of different ways of documentation and risk assessment. "We have tested several software tools and other possibilities, e.g. our own Excel templates. During these tests, we were convinced by the advantages of Safexpert.“
In addition to the clear structure and clarity - which helps not to forget important points - the possibility for several people to work on projects simultaneously was a particular selection criterion for Safexpert. A further feature offers particular customer benefits: "By linking safety-related solutions with standard references, we leave projects with the customer that are automatically monitored for up-to-dateness!" This supports the customer in maintaining an overview at all times, particularly in the case of more complex projects - even in those phases in which Siemens has not been awarded a consulting mandate.
"When selecting Safexpert, we naturally also had in mind that it is the market leader in the field of CE software, but this was not the decisive criterion. It is important that our customers have a system in which they can determine and document their safety-related solutions in a legally compliant manner. If a customer does not yet use Safexpert, we can also adapt our services to the systems (e.g. Word or Excel files) on request. However, we repeatedly find that the handling of such tables and documents quickly reaches its limits and the effort involved exceeds the supposed cost savings. We usually check at the start of the project in consultation with the customer whether there are any advantages to using Safexpert. Due to the possibility of the special rental model (customers can rent Safexpert for the duration of the consultation), we have also found a very uncomplicated solution for all parties involved here, together with IBF."
"No, but we recommend the use within the scope of our projects! The recommendation to use Safexpert comes from our conviction that it is the best tool on the market and that its use can save time and effort in the project."
Experienced specialists from Siemens Safety Consulting provide on-site support: from risk assessment to technical design and validation of machines.
CE software for systematic and professional safety engineering