Safety Interlocks

A SAFETY INTERLOCK is a feature that makes the state of two mechanisms or functions mutually dependent.

It may be used to prevent undesired states in a finite-state machine, and may consist of any electrical, electronic, or mechanical devices or systems. In most applications, an interlock is used to help prevent a machine from harming its operator or damaging itself by preventing one element from changing state due to the state of another element, and visa versa. Elevators are equipped with an interlock that prevents the moving elevator from opening its doors, and prevents the stationary elevator (with open doors) from moving. Although both are idiot proof strategies, an interlock should not be confused with a simple safety switch. For example, in a typical household microwave oven, the switch that disables the magnetron if the door is opened is not an interlock. Rather, it would be considered an interlock if the door were locked while the magnetron is on, and the magnetron were prevented from operating while the door is open. Interlocks may include sophisticated elements such as safety curtains of infrared beams, a safety PLCr containing an interlocking computer program, or simple safety gate switches and locks.

 

 

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