It used to be that industrial robots were things that operated in guarded cells; if a human stumbled into the robot’s work envelope, the whole shebang shut down for safety reasons.
Those days are gone. The new byword in robotics is collaborative — fielding robots that are safe enough to operate in close proximity to humans. With this new design paradigm comes a whole host of new standards aimed at minimizing the chance that robots will accidentally harm their human colleagues.
Actually, exactly what constitutes a “collaborative robot” is already defined. ANSI/RIA R15.06 spells out a collaborative robot as one designed for direct interaction with a human within a defined collaborative workspace. And what constitutes a “collaborative workspace” is defined as well. ISO/TS 15066 – RIA/TR 15.606 defines it as a space within the operating space where the robot system (including the workpiece) and a human can perform tasks concurrently during production operation.
It is the workspace that dictates whether or not a robot is “collaborative,” not the robot itself. And there are actually four types of collaborative operation when it comes to robots:
With a safety rated monitored stop system is basically the old robotic cell idea: The robot operates autonomously within the collaborative workspace when no people are around. A safety rated monitored stop is issued to allow interaction when a person enters the cell. The robot resumes operation when the human leaves.
A related collaborative mode is called hand guiding – Abn operator uses a safety-rated hand-guiding device (hold to run) to control the robot operation.
A third mode is called speed and separation monitoring – The robot system is designed to always maintain a safe separation distance between the operator and the robot, usually via safety rated ESPE (electro-sensitive protective devices).
A fourth type uses power and force limiting by design or control – The robot system is designed to control hazards by limiting the power and force at which the robot operates.
Designers of robotics increasingly understand that they must address safety risks in the design phase to ensure the final product will not fail standard testing procedures. In a presentation at the upcoming Robotics Summit in Boston, TUV Rheinland test engineering manager Ryan Braman will discuss the standards to be considered for robots and what needs to be additionally considered to safely deploy collaborative type robots, including the concepts of power and force limiting and speed and separation monitoring that manufacturers need to implement into their initial designs. Some of the topics he will discuss include:
What standards to consider in the industry today and major safety implications of each.
How to test and validate a power and force-limiting collaborative application. A preview of RIA/TR 15.806.
A review of the basics of speed and separation monitoring. What it is, how to accomplish it, and how to test it.
A discussion on the types of tasks that are suitable for collaborative operation, and the types that are not.
More info: https://www.roboticssummit.com/agenda/