Ask the Experts
Published on: 12/17/2020
Last Reply on: 12/18/2020
I am trying to determine if our robot cell is considered "collaborative" or not. Within R15.06-2012, a collaborative workspace is a "workspace within the safeguarded space where the robot and human can perform tasks simultaneously during production operation". In our cell, the robot and human do not perform tasks "simultaneously", instead they perform tasks in the same space but in sequence. For example, assume there is a "Location A" within our workspace. In our operation the robot moves to Location A, then performs work and then leaves Location A, (but remains in the workspace). Then the human enters the workspace, moves to Location A and performs work, and then leaves the workspace altogether. And it is not the intention for the human to interact with the robot while the human is in the workspace, such as passing material to it, etc. However, in theory I suppose the robot CAN perform tasks simultaneously while the human is in the workspace as it is not locked out, it is simply programmed to remain stowed in a home position. So...is this considered a collaborative workspace? Our confusion/debate is centered around the phrase "can perform tasks simultaneously" and the intuition that the workspace does not feel collaborative but the standard seems to indicate that it is. Just want to make sure we are meeting the appropriate requirements. Thanks for the help.
Dear Sir: Thank you for your inquiry, Proper and thorough response to safety related questions would not be possible with limited information, As a turnkey integrator, we would not be in a position to certify safety aspects of any installation where we are not integrally involved in in all implementation details. I can reference ANSI/RIA R15.06-2012 Industrial Robot Safety Standard as a good first step toward answering your questions. Please consider us should you determine that a turnkey solution is needed now or in the future Thank you and best wishes on your project and for this upcoming holiday season Al Keefer
There are two key requirements for an operation to be considered collaborative, the performance of tasks simultaneously in the shared workspace, and the tasks are performed during production operation. A simple manual loading operation where the space can be shared, but not simultaneously, is not considered a collaborative operation. If the operator enters the shared space while the robot is present a safety-rated stop is performed. The same would occur if the robot entered the shared space while the operator is present. You have indicated the robot is parked and stopped. I assume that also means power has been removed from the robot actuators. If the robot were to stop and hold position by means of a safety-rated monitored stop, you would now have the first of 4 methods of collaboration as described in ISO TS 15066.The other methods include hand guiding, speed and separation monitoring, and, finally, power and force limiting.