Use of wireless technology for communication, devices and systems is prevalent in most industry sectors, and the process sectors have begun using wireless communication and devices in monitoring applications. Use of wireless technology for applications in safety controls, alarms and interlocks is now drawing interest as well, but while the technology offers many benefits, there are important considerations to keep in mind to ensure safe and reliable operation.
A new ISA84 technical report addresses wireless technology-based sensors that are used in independent protection layers (IPLs), providing a risk-reduction factor of less than or equal to 10 (non-SIS IPL) by the authority having jurisdiction (typically the owner/operator or local regulatory authority), and establishes guidance and considerations for their utilization in the process sectors. Use of wireless technology for higher risk-reduction factors (such as a Safety Instrumented Function) has been specifically excluded from consideration in the technical report.
ISA-TR84.00.08-2017, Guidance for Application of Wireless Sensor Technology to Non-SIS Independent Protection Layers, provides guidance for fixed wireless sensor networks and portable and traveling wireless sensors that may periodically move from one part of a facility to another. The guidance is applicable for the periods of time when the sensors are connected to the network. An example of a sensor that periodically moves is a temperature monitoring point on a rail car.
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