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Networked Safety

Communication networks are becoming the norm within manufacturing plants the world over and now these organisations are also looking to connect their safety devies to these industrial ethernet networks to better utilise their safety-related data. 

Why choose Networked Safety Gate Switches?

With the rise of smart manufacturing, more and more factories are connecting their automation and control systems to their IT infrastructure with the use of Industrial Ethernet networks to fully utilise the many benefits associated with digitalisation.

With industrial communication protocols such as; PROFINET and EtherNet/IP, factories can build one common, converged, and rugged plant-to-business network which faciltates a much smoother data-exchange platform. Manufacturers are now looking to connect their functional safety devices in a similar, networked manner. 

To cater to this growing demand, Fortress have developed proNet: a communication module that enables virtually all amGardpro safety interlock switches to operate on industrial  Ethernet based network protocols. 

The proNet module allows the features of your safety gate configurations to become distributed IO on either a PROFINET or EtherNet/IP network with safety data being exchanged via the PROFIsafe or CIP Safety functional safety extension.

Safety application coverage over industrial ethernet provides the ability to mix safety devices and standard devices on the same network or wire for seamless integration and increased flexibility.

The modularity of amGardpro enables the following functionality to be incorporated into a networked safety switch:

  • Multiple actuator types for different door types
  • Internal Escape Release for emergency exits
  • Safety Key Technology for Personnel Protection
  • Solenoid Controlled Guard Locking 
  • Push Button Control and Indicator Lamps 
  • Monitored and Illuminated E-stops 


PROFINET is the standard for industrial networking in automation from Siemens which can easily integrate into existing systems and equipment while bringing the richness of Ethernet down to the factory floor. 

PROFIsafe is the leading technology for use in all sectors of discrete manufacturing and process automation. It is indepedent of the communication method and provides cost-effective and flexible functional safety. 

EtherNet/IP : CIP Safety

EtherNet/IP provides plant-wide network systems using open, industry-standard networking technologies. 

CIP Safety is the functional safety extension that creates fail-safe communication between nodes such as safety I/O blocks, safety interlock switches, and other safety devices in automation safety applications.

Industrial Access Control

FRANK is a new way of controlling access into dangerous machine areas by utilising a sites existing ID cards to only permit access to authorised and trained personnel. 

FRANK Industrial Access Control

Unauthorised access to manufacturing areas by untrained personnel can cause unneccesary machine downtime. Previously, cell access is often uncontrolled, allowing anybody on the plant floor to access dangerous machine areas. 

However, the new FRANK access control system offers a quick and easy method of manging and controlling shop floor access to prevent unauthorised personnel from accessing hazardous production cells to protect machine uptime. 

The FRANK enabled interlocking devices have an integrated RFID reader that scans an operators existing ID card to initiate the machine access procedure. The users details must be verified and access is only permitted if the operators is authorised to use the machine based upon their training records. 

Productivity Insights 

Without recording event information, root cause analysis and corrective action become problematic. In the case of maintenance, it can be difficult to understand who accessed a controlled area and how long it took for the fault to be rectified. 

The FRANK software logs all access events and can report on the duration of each event which can offer insights into usage and productivity patterns. This data can also be used to create a detailed preventitive maintenance shedule or to provide searchable audit records.  

Simple Integration

Access control systems can be difficult to integrate into industrial environments and interlock safety systems. External readers are often less robust for industrial environments, requiring additional wiring, and interfaces between the IT network or extensive reprogramming of the PLC.

With the reader integrated into the interlock, FRANK manages permissions through an industrial controller and then delivers simple inputs to the PLC, just like a pushbutton, negating IT interfaces or complex system integration. 

Networked Safety Upgrade in Brick Plant

A leading UK-based brick manufacturer installed a series of proNet safety devices along their dehacking line to take advantage of the many benefits associated with networked safety.

Safety gets connected

Still unsure on safety?

If you are currently working on a machiney safety project and are unsure of the best way of safeguarding your machine, we can help you to specify the appropriate safety device based upon your application. 

You're in safe hands