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News About Changes in Robot Standards

POSTED 09/07/2007  | By: Jeff Fryman, Director, Standards Development

New Standard Addresses Wireless Pendants; Safety Rated Axix Limiting; Multiple Arms and more.

As we look forward to our next National Robot Safety Conference (XIX) we can share highlights of what is new, and therefore provide information to help you decide whether to attend the conference to learn the details.  Obviously this year the venue – Indianapolis – is fresh, but that isn’t the only thing. 


It is the rare occasion that I can announce something new in robot safety standardization, but that is exactly what we will be featuring at our next National Robot Safety Conference in Indianapolis.  What is the announcement?  The United States has adopted the International standard for the construction of robots – ANSI/RIA/ISO 10218-1-2007.

This is very exciting news and I need to make very clear what this new standard is, and particularly what it is not.  This new standard deals only with the construction features of the robot and does not replace the current ANSI/RIA R15.06-1999.  The new standard provides information very similar to what is in clause 4 of the R15.06 and is applicable for new robots when used in conjunction with all of the clauses in the R15.06.

This adoption is considered an ‘‘identical’‘ national adoption of an international standard, ISO 10218-1:2006, and that is why we have chosen to keep the ISO number along with the title – Robots for Industrial Environment – Safety Requirements Part 1 – Robot.  As the name implies, this is only half of the requirements for robot safety, so the ISO Project Team is continuing its work on the development of the ISO 10218 Part 2 – Robot system and integration.  The R15.06 subcommittee continues to actively follow this development effort and is making the appropriate national inputs to the international work.

This new standard is also not a dramatic change in robot safety requirements.  The new standard does bring international requirements up to the level that R15.06 has required since 1999.  And, it goes a little further with some new and exciting options that may become available on new robots.  Being an international standard it also brings some new terminologies.  Well maybe not new terminology, but new and more precise terms for some of our existing features.  Slow speed (250mm/sec) becomes ‘‘reduced speed,’‘ a more precise description of the safety aspect of the term.  Likewise safety stop becomes ‘‘protective stop,’‘ a better description of the purpose of the stop.

The new robot standard offers the robot manufacturers instructions and performance requirements for several new optional features.  I’ll address each of these separately.

First up are provisions for wireless pendants (called cableless).  Safety advantage is obvious – remove the trip hazard of dragging the teach pendant cable around.  Issues include a discussion of ‘‘when is an e-stop device not an e-stop?’‘  (Answer – ‘‘when it isn’t connected.’‘)  The standard offers provisions.

Another new feature that offers a tremendous advantage to the user is safety-rated axis limiting.  These are new robot controller features that meet specific criteria so that the software can be considered safety-rated.  These new robots will be particularly welcome for the situations where the restricted space requires creative geometry.

Control of simultaneous motion covers the situations where you have multiple arms controlled by one controller.  Specific safety concerns about which arm is selected and what will move when selected are covered for these cases.

And finally, man is back in the loop when using collaborative robots.  Some very specific guidance is provided for robots intended to be used in ‘‘shared’‘ workspace between the robot and the human.

For details on RIA In-house Training Seminars, click here.

For more information, you may contact any of the experts listed in this article or visit Robotics Online, Tech Papers.