Experiences with the Certification of a Generic Functional Safety Management Structure According to IEC 61508

  • Carlos G. Bilich
  • Zaijun Hu
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5775)


This article summarizes the experiences undergone while supporting ABB Business Units (BUs) in achieving functional safety certification according to IEC 61508 for their safety related products. Being part of a large global organization, ABB BUs enjoy certain freedom in the way they implement their product development process both for hardware and software. Many times these processes are inherited from long standing and successful development tradition from companies that have been later incorporated by ABB. Given so, when faced to the increased demand of IEC 61508 compliant products, the BUs find themselves implementing IEC 61508 and adapting their development processes from scratch for each new product. As a consequence, there are many different ways throughout the organization of implementing similar artifacts with the same scope (i.e. templates, lifecycles, reports, etc.). Since the BUs have recognized that this is clearly not efficient for redundancy, repetition, and finally costs reasons we have undertaken the task of creating a generic process to be used as framework for developing safety compliant products according to IEC 61508 that can be reused for different products across BUs. The requirements of this framework are that it has to be easier to use than the original standard; self-contained (i.e. no need to look up information over the original standard), flexible (i.e. applicable for different kind of products across different BUs); be certifiable by any major certification body; coupled with ABB’s stage-gate business decision model; and most importantly: be attractive to BUs so that it can be widely adopted throughouto the organization. In order to satisfy those requirements we have developed a method and a set of components that we call “Safety Add-on”, to create and manage functional safety design and development activities according to IEC 61508. The Functional Safety Management module of the Safety Add-on has been certified by TÜV Rheinland and is being successfully used by several BUs across ABB.


Functional Safety IEC 61508 reusable components 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlos G. Bilich
    • 1
  • Zaijun Hu
    • 1
  1. 1.Industrial Software TechnologiesABB AG, Corporate Research Center GermanyLadenburgGermany

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