Robotic workcells are designed to make operations more efficient, productive, and safer. When integrating a robotic workcell it is important to consider what safety equipment is needed to protect workers from the robot while in operation. Many turnkey cells, such as the Lincoln 35, come standard with complete safety environments. While selecting a workcell you will want to make sure the safety environment is compliant with robot safety standards such as ANSI/RIA R15.06-2012. Ensuring your robotic system is properly safeguard will help keep operations running and allow workers and robots to exist on the same production floor. Below is a breakdown of some of the most common safety options for robotic workcells.
- Fencing - Safety fencing is a type of physical barrier that is used to close off the perimeter of a workcell. It can be several feet tall and its workspace varies upon the application being performed and number of robots of the cell. Safety fencing is used on the vast majority of workcells involving large robots like the FANUC R-2000ib/165F.
- Arc Glare Shields - Arc glare shields are partially transparent curtains that are fixed to the safety fencing of a weld cell. These protect workers eyes from developing arc eye by filtering out the light produced from arc welding robots such as FANUC Arcmate 100ic while in operation.
- Dividers - Dividers are another type of physical safety barrier that are typically used when a workcell contains a 180-degree indexing table. The metal dividers are fixed to the table to separate it in half to protect the cell operator from weld spray and also the arc during arc welding applications.
- Safety Light Curtains - Safety light curtains are a type of invisible barrier that are used to safeguard the open area of a workcell that is utilized for part loading and unloading. The light curtain emitter and receiver produce an invisible infrared beam across a specific area, that when broken sends a signal to the robot to stop operation. MostMotoman Arcwold cells are an example of a turnkey welding cell featuring safety light curtains.
- Area Scanner - Area scanners are similar to light curtains in that they are also an invisible form of safeguarding, but they offer more flexibility as they can protect an entire area instead of one specific location. When their light field is broken the robot within the cell is brought to a complete stop.
- E-Stop - An E-stop or emergency stop, is a button that can be used in the event of an emergency that when pressed will halt a robot’s operation immediately. Workcells can have one or multiple E-stop buttons around the system. Once an E-stop has been activated they only way for the robot to resume functioning is to activate the safety reset button.
- Doors - There are two types of doors available for robotic workcells, window-doors and interlocking doors. Window-doors allow operators to place parts in the door window without coming into contact with the robot. Once the window is closed the robot is signaled to being operation. Interlocking doors help to prevent workers from entering a workcell while the robot is operating. When the doors are opened the robot is signaled to stop its work.