Novel emergency stop improves efficiency at Airbus Filton 07 April 2011

The Airbus plant at Filton, Bristol is reporting improved safety and efficiency since installing Siemens' innovative 'e-stop' emergency stop buttons.

The site, which builds landing gear for the ground-breaking A380 aircraft, is using the solution on its multi-level test rig.

Gareth Trewartha, of electrical contractor Nexdorf Electrical, explains that the rig is so big and involves so many access points that 30 emergency stop buttons were required to cut power, in line with the Machinery Directive – leading to occasional accidental stops during everyday operation.

Every time it happened, he says, an Airbus engineer would need to walk round the test rig and visually check each button to establish which had been pressed in error – hence the need for some automation.

Nexdorf Electrical specified a Siemens ASI Safe solution – the Siemens ASI F-Link – which directly links all safety devices, allowing them to be individually assessed from a safety PLC.

At Filton, engineers can now simply look at the safety PLC, which immediately shows the emergency stop button in question.

"By installing the Siemens solution, Airbus has been able to maintain the high levels of safety required, while ensuring that they are operating at optimum efficiency," comments Trewartha.

Brian Tinham

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