Importance of Tool Qualification : Many companies and project teams that carry out projects for the first time in the field of functional safety have the impression that the tool qualification is critical to success and involves a great deal of effort. Although the Importance of Tool Qualification is justified, the subject is interestingly often given an not adequate attention.
This effect is very similar in several, very different industries such as aerospace, automotive or industrial automation.
The following article (part 1) therefore deals with this topic. Part 2 can be found here: Tool qualification – The phantom pain of functional safety (part 2)!
Basic idea behind the tool qualification
The 4-eyes principle is an essential aspect of functional safety in order to minimize systematic errors. When tools are deployed and they perform verification, they are an integral part of the 4-eyes principle. An example of this is the automated verification of the coding guidelines. If the tool does not recognize a violation of the rules, then this error will not be detected.
Tools can not detect errors in a system. Of course, mistakes of a tool which can introduce failure into the system are even more serious. An example is the compiler for the software. It is obvious that special requirements apply to this type of tools, unless there is a process that can detect these errors. For both categories of tools the violation of the 4 eye principle justifies the Importance of Tool Qualification.
The following measures are generally applied to demonstrate the correct functionality of tools:
- Data from the historical use of the tool
- Assessment of the development process of the tool
- Test the functionality of the tool
- Complete development of the tool according to a standard of functional safety
The two factors determining which measures are to be applied are the best practises of the industry as well as the criticality level of the functional safety system.
If these aspects are adequately taken into account and the resulting measures are implemented, the topic of tool qualification completely loses its fright. The sector-specific measures and best practices are dealt with in the second part of the blog.
Further HEICON Blog Posts related to Tool Qualification
- Tool qualification – The pain of functional safety (part 2)!
- IEC 61508 – Tool qualification – When? Why? How?
- EN50128 and EN50657 support tools
I’ll be glad to help you also with any specific questions about your project. Send an email to: info[at] heicon-ulm.de