Vehicles and machines must meet ever more and increasingly strict safety requirements. They are becoming increasingly complex and contain more software. When this software fails, functional safety makes sure that safety remains warranted. Such functional safety requirements are not limited to countries in which the vehicle or machine builder is active. Also the European legislation concerning product liability is applicable, to name but one. Standards also differ from industry to industry: the mining industry, for instance, imposes other requirements than the logistics sector. 

Flanders Make is working for a considerable time already on setting up a functional safety reference process for various applications such as passenger cars, machine building and agriculture. In this way, companies can, for instance, map differences between their current processes and the relevant ISO-standards and take an important step forward in defining and rolling out their processes according to these standards. This development method, FLAME, can be applied independently of the type of vehicle or machine.  

This is confirmed by machine builder Dana Belgium, an important strategic supplier in the automotive industry with a production unit and engineering department in West Flanders: 

“Thanks to FLAME, Dana Belgium has developed into thefunctional safety competence centre of the global Dana Group”, says Bjorn Aelvoet, Team Leader Embedded Systems & Functional Safety. "FLAME ensures that our variety of products realises a high safety and quality level for the variety of markets that we serve. Dana and its functional safety team have fully embraced FLAME and translated it into company-specific processes (dFLAME). At this moment, these processes are being introduced into all other Dana business units under the title ‘One Dana Mechatronic Standard’.”

“Thanks to the online platform FLAME, we are not only certain that we meet the prevailing standards. We can also rest assured that, when we carry through changes to a design, we immediately know whether or not this will have an impact on functional safety matters.” 

How does this work in the day-to-day practice? We depart from functional requirements and examine how, with which architecture we will be able to meet them. FLAME can be applied both to a traditional Powershift drivetrain for off-highway vehicles and to an on-road vehicle with a complete electric Dana drivetrain. FLAME will then tell us which safety requirements we must meet to limit the risks. 

The application of this design methodology for safety-critical systems will support Flemish vehicle and machine manufacturers to meet in an efficient way the requirements set by functional safety standards. Besides, the methodology can also be applied to product families. In this way, companies can considerably lower their overall development costs and efforts.

As this methodology covers a wide range of different international standards, its use will enable companies to assess in a much easier way whether they meet the standards and corresponding certification requirements for other markets."

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