Conversation at the Kiel Canal for waterway signaling

Safe signaling systems on waterways More traffic safety for locks, movable bridges, and gates

Signals that are visible from afar control traffic on waterways and ensure that ships can respond to obstacles such as bridges or cross traffic in good time. Increasing safety demands now call for diagnosable signaling in many places.

Signaling systems with integrated safety function ensure the reliable operation of signaling systems at locks, movable bridges, and gates. LED signal lights also bring both energy savings and higher availability.

As an important component of installations on waterways, signaling systems ensure round-the-clock operation in accordance with the Machinery Directive while at the same time ensuring energy efficiency.

Werner Pollmann - Phoenix Contact GmbH & Co. KG, Applications & Projects Infrastructure
Werner Pollmann


Movable bridge in Amsterdam

Safe bridge motion in accordance with the Machinery Directive

Safe operation on waterways

Various regions and countries throughout the world have different concepts and requirements for ensuring system safety on waterways. In order to prevent personal injury and damage to equipment, systems with mechanically moving parts must comply with basic safety requirements. In many places, for example, movable bridges, locks, and barrage and weir gates also fall within the scope of the Machinery Directive.

Signaling systems with integrated safety function meet the rigorous safety requirements and ensure that the signaling equipment operates reliably. For example, the coordinated systems block the lowering of a bridge as long as the red ship signal is not activated in both directions.


Safety-related signaling system Solution for safe operation in accordance with the Machinery Directive

Design reliable and energy-efficient signaling systems for locks, bridges, and harbors with the CE-compliant signaling system. From the signal light and cabling to the automation technology, you receive everything from a single source with the field-proven signaling system.

Benefit from safety-related control and diagnostics in accordance with IEC 61508 and set up your maritime signaling equipment in compliance with the Machinery Directive. In addition to the necessary preservation of evidence and traceability of the operating behavior, the system enables simple and fast maintenance.

For high availability on waterways, the signaling system relies on a robust, seawater-resistant design. Integration of the preconfigured system into your existing signaling equipment is seamless via common industrial communication interfaces.

Interactive image map: Safety-related signaling system for waterways
Signal lights
Benefit from the flexibility of the system by combining safety signal lights and standard signal lights and operating them in one system. If no safety requirements apply to the system, standard signal lights are all that is needed and the signal light interface is not required.
To the signal lights
Signal lights
Signal light interface
Ready-to-install control cabinet for safe connection of the lights to the network.
Signal light interface
Signal Light Control
Interface between the safe signaling and system automation, consisting of software and standard PLC. The safety-oriented software enables integration into the system with standard protocols (PROFINET, PROFIsafe) and also discretely via an I/O coupling.
To the application software
Signal Light Control
Safety controller
PROFINET controller with integrated PROFIsafe safety controller. High-level safety of machinery with diversified processors and support of up to 300 PROFIsafe devices.
To the safety controller
Safety controller
Safe I/Os
Whether with PROFIsafe or SafetyBridge Technology. With safe I/O modules, it could not be easier to implement safety applications. You can even do this without a safety controller and regardless of the network used.
To the I/Os
Safe I/Os

Your advantages

  • Signaling system for maximum operational safety with PL d and SIL 2 certification in acc. with the Machinery Directive
  • High-availability signaling with robust and durable lights for maritime use
  • Easy commissioning and maintenance with the preconfigured system
  • Minimization of maintenance and energy costs through diagnostics and monitoring functions


 Niederfinow ship lift

Niederfinow ship lift

Safe signals at the ship lift Niederfinow installs an energy-efficient signaling system

The Niederfinow ship lift on the Oder-Havel Canal was first built to replace a lock chain. It overcomes a lifting height of 36 meters. To ensure the safety of people and ships, the new lift was equipped with an LED-based signaling system from Phoenix Contact.

The control and automation solution complies with the EU-wide Machinery Directive, ensures high energy efficiency, and makes it possible to use the latest maintenance and repair concepts.

Lock system in Kiel-Holtenau, Germany

Lock system in Kiel-Holtenau, Germany

Signal lights that communicate Safe signals on the Kiel Canal

The roughly 100 kilometer-long Kiel Canal runs through the German state of Schleswig-Holstein and is one of the busiest man-made waterways in the world. The lock in Kiel-Holtenau bridges the difference in altitude between the two seas.

As part a of a modernization project, the lock system was equipped with a new signaling system from Phoenix Contact that simplifies maintenance and saves energy.


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