IEC 61508

IEC 61508 Compliance With Parasoft

What Is IEC 61508?

IEC 61508 is considered a basic or “umbrella” international standard for functional safety. IEC 61508 can be applied for any kind of safety-related electrical/electronic product. Industry sectors are supposed to provide their own specific standards, documents, and guidelines as needed (for example ISO 26262 in automotive). IEC 61508 encompasses the entire safety lifecycle of safety-critical systems. It contains 4 Normative parts (1-4) plus 3 informative or “guideline” parts (5-7). Certification for IEC 61508 is optional – the standard does not require this specifically.

The IEC 61508 technical standard introduces the concept of Safety Integrity Level (SIL). SIL can take one of the four levels (SIL1-SIL4) corresponding to the range of a given safety function’s target likelihood of dangerous failures. Each safety function in a safety-related system needs to have an appropriate safety integrity level assigned. An E/E/PE safety-related system will usually implement more than one safety function. If the safety integrity requirements for these safety functions differ, unless there is sufficient independence of implementation between them, the requirements applicable to the highest relevant safety integrity level apply to the entire E/E/PE safety-related system.

Enforcing IEC 61508 Compliance With Source Code Analysis, Unit Testing, Traceability, & More

Parasoft users can leverage Parasoft C/C++test to reduce the cost of achieving IEC 61508 compliance by automating multiple testing methods required by the standard to save time and effort. Parasoft C/C++test helps industrial automation software development teams satisfy the software development and verification process requirements defined by the IEC 61508 standard. When results of the broad range of testing and code analysis types automated through Parasoft C/C++test are processed, intelligent analytics are reported that significantly reduces the work required for software verification.

How Parasoft Services Help Achieve IEC 61508 Compliance

Parasoft C/C++test is an integrated development testing solution for automating a broad range of best practices proven to improve software development team productivity and software quality, including:

  • Static analysis: monitor coding standards compliance and prevent defects early in the SDLC, including the elimination of the software constructs that pose security threats
  • Unit testing: create and execute tests on the host or target
  • Coverage metrics analysis: identify gaps testing, requirements and code coverage
  • Runtime error detection: detect memory access errors, leaks, corruptions, and more

These technologies give teams a practical way to prevent, expose, and correct errors in order to ensure that their C and C++ code works as expected and complies with requirements. To promote rapid remediation, each problem detected is prioritized based on configurable severity assignments, automatically assigned to the developer who wrote the related code, and distributed to his or her IDE with direct links to the problematic code and a description of how to fix it. For embedded and cross-platform development, C/C++test can be used in both host-based and target-based code analysis and test flows.

As opposed to the fragmented tools provided by other software testing products, Parasoft C/C++test satisfies multiple software testing requirements imposed by IEC 61508 rules. The comprehensiveness of Parasoft’s solution translates into lower learning and setup effort. Developers don’t have to learn several tools and can focus on their core activities. Tool integrators or architects can save their time which would be otherwise spent on implementing interfaces between the tools for exchanging the data and generating uniform reports.

Parasoft C/C++test was designed with a safety-critical application in mind. When performing unit testing or runtime memory monitoring, all components required to build the test binary (including the test cases for tested code stimulation and stubs) are expressed in the form of the source code and can be versioned and inspected.

This approach is superior compared to other tools, in which the stimulation for tested code is sent at runtime from the host and requires additional conversions before assigning to the variables in memory. By instead expressing all testing artifacts in the form of the source code, Parasoft C/C++test removes this unnecessary layer and assures that the state of the memory before executing tests is constructed in the same way as in the production system.

Unlike other tools with closed reporting modules, Parasoft C/C++test is integrated with Parasoft’s sophisticated reporting and analytics platform, for team-wide data aggregation, convenient reporting, and advanced analytics. The reporting and analytics hub provides an aggregated view of relevant information from different sources such as source code or requirements management systems, testing tools, or ALMs.

Correlating this information together provides users with novel capabilities for data analytics, to more effectively focus efforts in the most productive way. Users can increase productivity by monitoring trends in the development process, and automatically generate reports that comply with industry standards such as “MISRA Compliance: 2016” (widely used in various industries).

Parasoft C/C++test is certified by TÜV SÜD as suitable for use when developing IEC 61508 safety-critical systems. Our TÜV certification covers C/C++test qualification for all Safety Integrity Levels (SIL). In support of other industry standards, Parasoft has a IEC 61508 certification kit that automates a significant part of the Tool Qualification process, reducing the amount of manual work and eliminating this distraction from software technology teams.

Text on left in white font on dark blue background: Guide to Achieving Functional Safety in Industrial Automation: How to Satisfy IEC 61508 SIL Requirements. On right is an image of robotic arms facing downward and welding metal with sparks flying like an extra large sparkler.

Guide to Achieving Functional Safety in Industrial Automation: How to Satisfy IEC 61508 SIL Requirements

IEC 61508 functional standards reduce software risks. Read this document to learn how Parasoft can help software development teams meet requirements for particular SIL levels. It helps you understand the SIL as defined by the IEC 61508 standard, and demonstrates how Parasoft can be used to satisfy software development process requirements for particular SIL levels.