The robotic industry is one of the fastest growing industries, with more and more manufacturers turning to automation with robots like the FANUC M-20ia. Industrial robots have taken over the dangerous, tedious, and repetitive tasks that were once only performed by humans. However, industrial robots themselves can be hazardous to the people and environment around them. Robotic safety standards have been put in place in order to regulate robot operation, protect workers, and to create a safe work environment.
There are many different versions of robotic safety standards and each country typically has their own set of guidelines. In general, robotic safety standards consist of a collection of guidelines for robot specifications and operation which must be followed by all interests in the manufacture, sale, and use of industrial robots. The safeguarding of industrial robots, such as the Motoman HP20, is designed to protect humans allowing robots to function in the most efficient, productive, and precise manor in order to better serve users. The most common safety standards for robots come from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
American National Standards Institute
The ANSI is the U.S. safety standard for regulating the proper use of safety devices integrated with robots and robotic systems. It also provides guidelines for the integration of robots in manufacturing facilities or other work environments. The ANSI states requirements for the manufacture, remanufacture, installation, and safe guarding methods to protect those associated with the operation of industrial robots. These guidelines are also associated with the Robotic Industries Association (RIA).
The ANSI/RIA R15.06-1999 is the most extensive ANSI standard, but the most recent version is the ANSI/RIA R15.06-2012. This latest ANSI standard is an adoption of the ISO safety regulations in order to achieve global compliance with international guidelines for easier use and sale of industrial robots. In the U.S. it is common to see a robot such as the ABB IRB 2600 or a robotic workcell, like the Motoman Arcworlds referenced as ANSI/RIA R15.06-2012 compliant. This signifies the robotic equipment is up to date on the latest safety protocols to ensure complete workforce safeguarding.
International Organization for Standardization
The ISO safety standard serves as the international set of guidelines for robotic safeguarding. It is the central safety standard for robots and robotic workcells with many standards, including the ANSI’s mentioned above, having been adopted from it. ISO standards have been developed for the unification and assimilation of robot safeguarding protocols.
The ISO 10218:2011 is the most recent version of the international safety standard and consists of two parts. The first part of the ISO outlines safety protocols specifically for the robot, robot arm, and controller. While the second part details safeguarding of the entire industrial robot system including the EOAT, workpieces, and any peripheral equipment. This is another safety standard that is commonly referenced, especially with robotic workcells including arc welding robots.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
While OHSA does not have a specific robot requirement in its guidelines, industrial robot safeguarding does fall under their General Duty Clause. This clause requires a safe and healthy workplace be provided by employers. It outlines an employee’s work environment should be free from hazards and refers to the ANSI regulations.
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