ISO Publishes New Guidelines for Smart Manufacturing Safety

ISO has released a new standard for the optimisation of safety practices for enterprises that utilise smart manufacturing practices to prevent a catastrophic equipment failure.

It’s known as ISO/TR 22100-4, Safety of machinery – Relationship with ISO 12100 – Part 4: Guidance to machinery manufacturers for consideration of related IT-security (cyber security), and was designed by the ISO technical committee ISO/TC 199 to consolidate the safety practices around your interconnected manufacturing processes.

As ISO writes on their website, “cyber-attacks or IT malfunctions in manufacturing can pose risks to the safety measures in place, thus having an impact on production and people.”

In the desire for expedited, more efficient manufacturing methods, ‘smart machinery’ is increasingly common, as robots can exceed the pace and accuracy of a human hand. This is a valuable proposition for many businesses as they look to make more, for less.

The problem with smart machinery, however, is this: when a manufacturing machine is plugged into your system, it’s instantly vulnerable to being compromised through a cyber attack, or through a failure in that enterprise’s network.

These aren’t unprecedented either, with a number of reported incidents from nation states like the Stuxnet malfare that hit nuclear facilities with state of the art military-grade security protocols, as well as corporate espionage that look to weaken an opposition’s ability to compete through eliminating their ability to manufacture products.

According to ISO, the standard “is designed to help machinery manufacturers identify and address IT security threats that can impact on the safety of their product. It complements ISO’s flagship standard for machine safety, ISO 12100, Safety of machinery – General principles for design – Risk assessment and risk reduction, which lays down the fundamentals for risk assessment, hazard analysis and documentational requirements.”

Chair of the ISO technical committee in charge of the technical report, Otto Görnemann says that while machine safety and cyber security standards are radically different, in 2019, they remain inextricably linked due to the nature of smart technology in our exponentially-more connected world.

“ISO/TR 22100-4 will help machine manufacturers integrate the relationship between cybersecurity and machine safety,” he said.

“It will thus cover aspects such as the types of components that could be potential targets for cybersecurity attacks, the design of the machine to minimize vulnerability to such attacks and information for the machine operator on possible threats.”

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