The PFSC4 interlock unit from Rohde & Schwarz enhances the safety of automatic test equipment and makes it easier for manufacturers to meet the relevant safety requirements of EN 954-1 and ISO 13849-1. This 19-in. plug-in unit is applicable to a wide range of test systems used in electronics production and can even be retrofit to existing testers.
To prevent accidents, the European Union (EU) has regulated the safety of machines and systems in Machinery Directive 2006/42/EG and other standards. These standards apply to automatic test systems in applications where high-voltage, high-current, compressed-air, or vacuum conditions can occur or where mechanical actuators are used. Personnel must be able to be quickly and safely turn off systems in an emergency situation.
With the PFSC4 interlock unit, all key system functions—pneumatics, vacuums, and various controls (personnel/fire protection systems)—are available at the system interface to provide an added measure of safety. The unit can also be customized to meet specific application requirements.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.