Considerations in Collaborative Robot System Designs and Safeguarding 2016-01-0340
Applications using industrial robotics have typically led to establishing a safeguarded space encompassing a wide radius around the robot. Operator access to this hazard zone was restricted by a combination of means, such as hard guarding, safeguarding, awareness means, and personal protective equipment. The introduction of collaborative robots is redefining safeguarding requirements. Many collaborative robots have inherently safe designs that enable an operator and a robot to work within a shared, collaborative workspace.
New technology in industrial robotics has opened up opportunities for collaborative operation. Collaborative operation could include either industrial or collaborative robots, depending on its application. The current defined modes of collaborative operation are hand guiding; speed and separation monitoring; safety-rated monitored stop; and, power and force limiting.
Collaborative robots and collaborative operations change what safeguarding will be required and how the system will be designed. Industry needs will continue to push this technology to include higher speeds and more capability while finding new ways to make the interaction between the collaborative robot and operator smarter and safer.