The Local Operating Network (LON) technology is one of the worldwide most common network solutions for automation control in buildings. The technology, described in the standards ANSI/EIA-709 and prEN14908 is based on a non-proprietary interoperable fieldbus system, which is currently implemented in a large percentage of all train-stations, airports, hospitals, office towers, and other buildings of public interest.
Recent political and technical developments have increased the need to establish a technology for safety related and secure data communication with automation systems. A new international standard IEC 61508 has been implemented that defines the requirements for functional safety related applications of programmable electronic systems. A feasibility study has shown that safety features can be directly integrated into already existing LON communication structures by developing a safety chip and adapting the respective tools to control a safety network. At the moment all solutions require the installation of additional communication lines, causing extra costs that usually are prohibitive for carrying out such a project.
Despite the need for the integration of this safety feature and the potential impact on society and building automation the development and integration of the safety concept cannot be pursued without collective research efforts. The LON-community is formed mainly by SMEs. The development of a non-proprietary and interoperable platform technology to incorporate the safety feature is beyond the capabilities of single enterprises and the goal can only be achieved by mobilising the respective synergies. The European LON user community is organised in national IAGs. Within SAFETYLON the national user organisations of Germany, Sweden and Poland are coordinating their activities and consequently guarantee a direct distribution of the RTD results to all European LON technology and application providers.
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