Fieldbus & Industrial Networking

I/O expansion modules certified for functional safety

March 2022 Fieldbus & Industrial Networking

Parker Hannifin now offers its IQAN-XC41, -XC42 and -XC43 expansion modules with certification according to IEC 61508 safety integrity level 2 (SIL 2). This development makes it possible to use the modules as part of machinery safety functions up to EN 13849-1 performance level d (PL d).

With safety-certified expansion modules, engineers can simplify system implementation and machine design in mobile hydraulic applications demanding higher levels of functional safety. Such applications include those relating to material handling, construction, aerial platforms, and specialty vehicles like refuse trucks, for example.

The new development from Parker means that both types of controllers on the latest IQAN platform – MC4x master controllers and XC4x expansion modules – provide several safety-certified versions so that machine designers have many options at their disposal. For instance, design engineers can assign critical I/O to a module at the best physical location on the machine, reducing wiring complexity and cost. This modularity enables easy upscaling or downscaling with pin-compatible units.

An important feature of the XC4x is Parker’s newly designed protocol, which is both safe and bandwidth efficient. The protocol supports both classic CAN (250 and 500 Kbps) and CAN FD up to 500/2000 Kpbs. Notably, in a system where all outputs that control hydraulic valves are safe to begin with, the application designer does not have to introduce additional components and complexity in order to implement basic stop functions.

IQAN is an electronic control system for mobile hydraulic applications with the highest focus on functional safety, precision control and ease of use. At the core of the IQAN family is a fully integrated solution of controllers and displays, with the IQAN software toolchain facilitating configuration and maintenance tasks. IQAN is safe, fast and powerful to use.

The IQAN toolchain consists of three core software suites: IQANdesign for application design, IQANsimulate for simulation of the application, and IQANrun for service and diagnostics. Thanks to Parker’s co-development of IQAN hardware and IQAN software, users get to benefit from plug-and-play functionality and increased safety performance.

There are numerous advantages to using IQAN for functional safety. For instance, when using IQANdesign, a high-level graphical tool for quick and easy system layout and machine function design, there is no need to compile the application or embedded software (Parker compiles and verifies all embedded software and the IQAN application interpreter). Users of IQANdesign can highlight and document safety functions, guided by a project check function. In addition, designers can easily create the intended function and take advantage of predictable real-time performance.

Ultimately, multiple IQAN master modules can be combined seamlessly with Parker IQAN protocols for exchanging safety-related signals with real-time performance between modules. From a safety perspective, it is a significant advantage for the developer that the controller and diagnostics tools are designed to work together. It is far easier to provide a reliable and carefully considered interface when everything belongs to the same system of software support tools and controller hardware. IQAN easily implements safety-related devices with generic support from SAE J1939-76 for safe communication with sensors and other input devices.

The IQAN-XC4x expansion module family includes three safety-certified and high-performance versions: XC41, XC42 and XC43. Each is for use in different ways to meet the requirements of any hydraulic mobile machine, making it easy to expand an IQAN control system when connected to an IQAN-MC4x master controller.

Parker offers three versions of the safety-certified MC4xFS: the MC41FS, which is for one or two safety functions in support of cost-efficient, task-oriented control; the MC42FS, which provides a higher number of safe outputs for mid-size applications and I/O distribution; and the MC43FS, a large, centralised controller for applications involving multiple safety functions.

For more information contact Parker Hannifin SA, +27 11 961 0700,,


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