Safety controller cuts development time and cost for mobile systems

Paul Boughton
A new programmable hydraulics controller has been launched by Parker Hannifin for use by OEMs and system integrators for the development of mobile and off-highway equipment. 

Designated IQAN-MC3, and forming part of Parker’s IQAN family of motion and control products, the new device enables both safety and operational functions to be controlled from a single module; this allows system design and build times and costs to be cut, while improving machine performance, safety and productivity.
The launch of the new controller coincides with growing demand from manufacturers of mobile and off-highway equipment for components and software, used in the production and development of safety systems, to offer improved performance and be certified to accepted functional safety standards, such as EN ISO 13849-1 or IEC 61508. 
The new IQAN-MC3 module, used in conjunction with Parker’s dedicated IQAN Studio Software Tools, therefore allows both operational and safety functions to be programmed, controlled and monitored through a single controller.  This helps machine builders minimise the number of components required and thus reduce overall system complexity and cost.
To make this possible, IQAN-MC3 is designed to IEC 61508 (certification pending) and effectively enables the operation and performance level of all safety functions to be proven as part of a SIL2 (Safety Integrity Level) methodology, or to be used as part of a PLd subsystem within EN ISO 138489-1.
Although the IQAN-MC3 can be used to manage both safety and operational functions, it is always the former that takes priority.  The new module can be used as a standalone controller, with local I/O, or be integrated into larger systems using four CAN buses. 

Each module has 16 digital inputs and 16 analogue inputs all of which can be set for safety related signals. Additionally, there are four proportional current outputs designed to drive proportional hydraulic valves, with each output controlling one bi-directional valve section, as well as five digital outputs for driving on and off solenoids.
Each MC3 unit is constructed to meet the rigours of mobile and off-highway applications, with a robust enclosure that withstands high levels of vibration and humidity, is sealed to IP66 and operates at temperatures from -40 to 85ºC. 
The IQAN-MC3 is designed to be used with Parker’s suite of IQAN Studio Software Tools, which allow electronic systems to be developed, programmed, configured and remotely managed.  In particular, tools such as IQANdesign and IQANrun give design and production engineers a flexible, powerful and easy to use set of modular tools that can significantly reduce development, construction and subsequent maintenance times.
The IQAN-MC3 is backed by Parker’s global network of manufacturing and sales support centres.  The company works closely with customers, using its experience as a supplier of hydraulic and electronic components, together with its extensive knowledge of technology integration, safety systems and standards, to help customers improve the performance, productivity and profitability of their mobile and off-highway machines.
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