Industrial Sector

Grundfos reduces development time by implementing a SIL3 functional safety module

We helped Grundfos develop an innovative SIL3-compliant functional safety module for pump systems, resulting in significant cost savings, a better reputation, and increased market reach. 

The project at a glance

Grundfos seeks to implement a SIL3 functional safety module to address stringent safety requirements and streamline operational efficiency.

The project team ensures rapid development and seamless integration of the safety module into the pump systems' architecture and supports the design and precertification activities.

The successful implementation strengthens Grundfos’s reputation as an innovative solution provider and leads to cost savings and increased market reach.

In the realm of industrial equipment, ensuring the safety and reliability of machinery is paramount. Grundfos, a global leader in energy-efficient water solutions for homes, buildings, utilities, and agriculture, partnered with our team to set a new benchmark in pump system’s functional safety. During our collaboration, we implemented a SIL3 (Safety Integrity Level 3) functional safety module, addressing stringent safety requirements and streamlining operational efficiency.

SIL3 is a classification based on the International Electrotechnical Commission's (IEC) standard IEC 61508, relating to the functional safety of electrical, electronic, programmable electronic safety-related systems. SIL3 certification indicates a high level of safety integrity, where the risk of failure is significantly minimised.

' Thanks to the high-quality partnership with Zühlke and the fast capability ramp-up, we increased our development speed. In addition, we received important insights from other industries that we could apply to our business for better profitability. '
Jimm Feldborg
Group Vice President & Head of Product Development, Grundfos

Ensuring compliance and enhancing safety quickly and cost-effectively

The market's evolving regulations, particularly IEC 61508, mandated the implementation of additional safety measures, such as Safe Torque Off (STO). STO is an electronic safety function used in industrial motor controllers for safety reasons. It ensures that no torque-generating energy can continue to act upon a motor and prevents unintentional starting.

Despite having the ability, Grundfos faced massive challenges with the project's timeline and the cost implications of using external safety devices, which could add 10%-30% to the pump’s cost. Hence, the primary goal was to develop pump systems that ensured safety without depending on external components. To do so, Grundfos decided to rely on Zühlke's long-standing, cross-industry development and consulting expertise.


Rapid development, seamless integration, and compliance

We assembled a dedicated team of hardware developers, including a scrum master, to tackle the project in an agile way. This approach facilitated rapid development and seamless integration of the safety module into the pump system’s architecture. We also supported Grundfos in the design and precertification activities for obtaining UL, EMC, and functional safety certifications, thereby ensuring compliance with CE marking and declaration of conformity requirements.

headshot of Jimm Feldborg, Group Vice President and Head of Product Development at Grundfos
' Without the focused work of the Zühlke team, we would not have been able to finish this project in the required timeframe. '
Jimm Feldborg
Group Vice President & Head of Product Development, Grundfos

Lower development costs, better reputation, and increased market reach

The successful implementation of the SIL3 functional safety module brought about numerous benefits.

First of all, Grundfos now has the ability to serve customers requiring STO, ensuring a broader market reach. Eliminating the need for external safety devices also saves costs for Grundfos and its customers. Additionally, the process of applying these advancements to other product families has been streamlined, speeding up and optimising the certification process.

Grundfos’s reputation as an innovative solution provider has also been strengthened thanks to the improved safety features, ensuring safety even in the event of multiple failures. The integrated safety solution with minimised manual intervention also reduces installation and operational costs for operators. Lastly, filing a patent for the innovative circuit design is a notable achievement of our close collaboration.

Overall, this project not only underscores the importance of innovative solutions in meeting regulatory requirements but also highlights the potential for cross-industry collaboration to drive technological advancement and market competitiveness.

Contact person for Germany

Jörg Sitte

Director Business Development, Germany

As Director Business Development, Jörg Sitte is responsible for business development in the mechanical/plant engineering and MedTech sectors in Southern Germany. He is intensively involved in IoT and digitalisation projects as well as all the disciplines required for these projects, such as software (embedded, cloud and apps), electronics, sensor technology and mechanics/construction. He is convinced that the competitiveness of companies is increasingly determined by a successful digitalisation strategy. 

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