May 2001

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HP Automation Safety: The safe failure fraction barrier

Two charts in IEC61508 are getting a lot of attention as engineers begin to implement design processes to meet the standard. These are the "Safe Failure Fraction (SFF)" tables located i..

Goble, W., exida LLC

Two charts in IEC61508 are getting a lot of attention as engineers begin to implement design processes to meet the standard. These are the "Safe Failure Fraction (SFF)" tables located in part 2 of the standard. There are two tables, one for simple devices, Type A, and one for complex devices, Type B. Simple devices are those with long operating experience and well-known failure modes. This group would include solenoid valves, relays, transistors, resistors, etc. Complex devices are things like microprocessors or complex custom integrated circuits where it is well recognized that all failure modes are not understood.

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