Collision Detection for Robots

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Collision detection technology can significantly enhance the operation and improve the safety of a robotic system. Collision detection software is typically offered as an option for traditional industrial robots while it comes standard with collaborative robots as one of their main safety features. Most newer robots typically include this as a standard feature

Collision detection technology involves a combination of tactile sensors and software. Contact sensors and robotic force sensors are two types of tactile sensors used for collision detection. These sensors can be integrated throughout the robotic manipulator or between the robot wrist and EOAT. Most collaborative robots feature contact sensors through the robotic arm. Contact sensors of the FANUC CR-7ia allow it to safely operate around humans. Contact sensors provide cobots with the capability to forgo safety barriers on production floors.

Collision detection sensors are able to measure unusual force, changes in torque, or when the articulated robot makes contact with a peripheral object. These sensors can then set off an alarm, slow robot operation speed, or stop the robot altogether.

Why Use Collision Detection?

Collision detection is a beneficial tool for robotic technology. The main reasons robot users opt for collision detection include:

  • • Protects the robot from damage - Integrating your robot with collision detection can prevent damage from occurring to your robot, extending the lifespan of your robot and avoiding potentially costly repairs. While six axis robots are incredibly durable, they are not indestructible. Collisions with objects can cause damage to end-effectors or the robot itself and cause unplanned downtime. Integrating the FANUC LR Mate 200id with collision detection allows it to stop operation immediately when it first senses contact with a foreign object.

  • • Increases the safety of the robotic system - Collision detection provides another level of safety for your robotic system. Robots with collision detection are able to slow or completely stop their operation to reduce the occurrence of an adverse event. Collision detection technology is the main component that makes collaborative robots safe for barrier-free operation alongside humans. While traditional industrial robots still require safety enclosures, collision detection enhances the safety of the robotic system in the off chance other safety devices fail.

  • • Allows for multi-robot configurations - Those looking to achieve hyper-productivity levels or pursue a lights-out manufacturing method may opt for a multi-robot workcell or production line. However, multiple robots operating in close proximity to one another run the risk of interference and collisions. Collision detection software prevents robots from colliding or interfering with one another. Collision detection allows multiple FANUC Arcmate 100ic to operate side by side efficiently and without contact to each other.

  • • Reliable operation in confined spaces - Those with narrow or confined workspaces can benefit from collision detection. Robots with collision detection are able to avoid peripheral objects and equipment, allowing for a more reliable operation. If an object is within the robot’s work envelope, operators will be alerted as the robot will stop. This allows operators to clear the workspace. Robots without collision detection operating in confined spaces run the risk of crashing into other objects or equipment. While there are many small footprint robots designed for such spaces, collision detection can ensure reliable operation.

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