The Mechatrolink Members Association (MMA), Waukegan, Ill., announces that its Mechatrolink motion control network now meets industry safety standards. Certification was received after an independent third party, TÜV Rheinland, confirmed that its specifications satisfy the requirements of IEC61508 safety integrity level SIL3.

A safety system can be constructed using the Mechatrolink network by simply adding a safety master, such as a PLC, and safety slaves, such as I/O devices, to the existing system. No special cabling is required to connect Mechatrolink safety-compliant devices, as standard Mechatrolink cables can be used. What's more, up to 61 safety slave devices can be connected and both the Mechatrolink safety protocol and standard protocol can coexist on the same network.

The new safety certification now makes it possible for MMA members to build motion control and machine control systems for use in applications that must comply with safety standards. The network connects devices such as servomotors, servo amps, and I/O to each other and to motion controllers such as PLCs, PACs, and dedicated motion controllers. It is available in both RS-485 and Ethernet versions, operates at speeds to 100 Mbps, and can support up to 62 simultaneous devices.

The MMA's Safety Working Group developed the specifications for the safety communications protocol and includes seven corporate members: Inter Factory Partners Co.; Digital Electronics Corp.; Nikki Denso Co.; HIMA Japan; Magnescale Co.; Yaskawa Electric Corp.; and Yokogawa Electric Corp. For more information, visit mechatrolink.org.