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Identification and localization of faults in interlock systems.

Country of Origin: Germany
Reference Number: TODE20180403001
Publication Date: 5 April 2018


A German university has developed a new interlock system for electrical installations. The new system localizes the activated emergency stop and detects short circuits and/or line breaks. The university is offering a license agreement as well as a technical cooperation agreement.


For the safe operation of electrical systems emergency stop or interlock applications interrupt the power supply or put the system in a safe state (DIN EN 60204-1 and DIN EN ISO 13850). In many cases - especially in the case of complex systems - it is difficult to determine which system component triggered the emergency shutdown or whether there is a short circuit or interruption in the interlock line. The troubleshooting can then be very complex and generate high costs due to the stoppage of machines.

A German university developed an interlock system that uses time domain reflectometry (TDR) methods to identify and locate faults in the safety circuit. By using appropriate waveforms, the interlock system can use the reflected signal to determine if the fault is a short circuit or line break. In addition, the interlock system locates the error so that repair or release can be done quickly.

The interlock system can be used in all systems that use emergency stop switches and automated safety switches.

The university is offering a license agreement to companies active in the electronic or automation sector. In order to further develop the existing prototype a technical cooperation agreement with the university is also conceivable.

Advantages and Innovations

In comparison to existing interlock applications this one localizes activated emergency stops and detects short circuits and/or line breaks. The new interlock system has a simple structure and can also easily be retrofitted to existing systems. The benefit of the interlock system increases with the size of a facility and the complexity of the troubleshooting process. It is low-priced and helps to reduce off time and operation cost.

Stage Of Development

Prototype available for demonstration

Stage Of Development Comment

Prototype available / the method has been experimentally verified.

Requested partner

The university is offering a license agreement as well as a technical cooperation agreement.

Potential licensees come from the electronic sector. Producer of emergency stops and companies in the field of automation engineering are also suitable partners.

A technical cooperation would involve the further development of the interlock system to the needs of the future partner. The university would provide technical know-how and solution and adapt it to the partner’s application.

Kooperationsanfrage stellen