Did you hear the one about the machine safety standard that was postponed for two years before finally going into full effect? That's right, the EN-954-1 machine safety standard was replaced by the ISO 13849-1 and IEC 62061 standards on Jan. 1.
Where the old standard generally was prescriptive, these new ones reportedly require more proof of compliance. As a result, while use of programmable safety controllers has been increasing since the revised NFPA 79 standard began allowing safety and control communications on the same physical network in 2007, it's pretty certain that ISO 13849-1 and IEC 62061 will cause demand for these components to skyrocket.
So, check out February’s Techflash column, “New Game for Programmable Safety,” for some advice and suggestions on how to comply with these new machine safety standards. It's located at http://www.controldesign.com/articles/2012/montague-new-game-for-programmable-safety.html.