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Robot Safety Standard to be Revised

POSTED 08/31/2010  | By: Jeff Fryman, Director of Standards Development, Robotic Industries Association

Jeff Fryman, Director, Standards Development, RIAIn my last article I discussed in detail the progress being made with the International Standard for Industrial Robot Safety – the ISO 10218-1 and 10218-2.  They are expected to be published in early 2011.  This time I will talk more about how that affects the American National Standards – ANSI/RIA R15.06-1999(r2009) and ANSI/RIA/ISO 10218-1:2007.

As the standard numbers suggests, the R15.06 standard was approved in 1999 and reaffirmed in 2009; the 10218-1 was adopted in 2007 (ISO 10218-1:2006).  It is time to update the standards, and that is exactly what is happening.  The R15.06 revision will be based on both of the ISO standards.

The ISO standards were updated from their 1992 edition based on the information and safeguarding requirements from the 1999 edition of R15.06.  We essentially “globalized” the safety of industrial robots with significant input from the United States.  Now we complete the circle by adopting the International Standards as an American National Standard so that one requirements document is applicable globally for the entire world.

The American National Standard is written by the R15.06 Subcommittee on Safety sponsored by the Robotic Industries Association.  Committee members have been actively working on the revision to the ISO standard since 2001.  In fact, the USA has sent a delegation to all 25 meetings of the ISO working group for the 10218 standard which now includes representatives from ten countries (including the USA and Canada).

The ISO 10218 standards are considered “C” level standards in ISO parlance.  What that means is they contain specific guidance for manufacturing and supplying certain types of machines, in this case industrial robots.  The ISO 10218-1 is written specifically and solely to provide requirements to the manufacturer of industrial robots.  The Part 2 document entitled Robot systems and integration is written to the suppliers of industrial robot systems which include the integrator and installer and other supplier entities responsible for designing, constructing, integrating and installing industrial robot systems.

The R15.06 has always been a complete standard addressing the manufacturer, the integrator/installer, and the user.  Our adoption of the International Standard will include all of the information for the manufacturer and integrator that the R15.06 has always had, and will add information for the user that is not specifically called out in the International Standards but, of course, has always been included in the R15.06.  To do this the R15.06 will present both ISO 10218 parts in their entirety; Part 1 which is equivalent to the current Clause 4 of R15.06, and the Part 2 which addresses the other 13 clauses of the present R15.06.

The new R15.06 standard will be completely rewritten, but will still contain all the requirements that make for the safe use of industrial robots.  Added to the international requirements will be specific requirements for the “user” stakeholder making the R15.06 unique for the United States market; but still global in its applicability.  The new edition of the R15.06 will replace the 1999 edition as well as the US adoption of the ISO 10218-1 (which is updated from the 2007 edition and will be included in the R15.06 document).  The new standard will also replace the RIA TR R15.206 which was a Technical Report designed to bridge the gap of information between the 1999 R15.06 and the new features available as options on new robots covered in the 2007 10218-1.

You should find the new standard easier to understand and comply with the safeguarding requirements.  There is over ten years of additional practical experience of safety of industrial robots invested in the new standard.  Interested in learning more?  Want to be among the first to be introduced to the new standard?

National Robot Safety ConferenceJoin us at the National Robot Safety Conference, September 27th through the 29th, in Indianapolis, Indiana.  We will present the initial draft of the new R15.06 to the conference, and a copy will be provided to all attendees.  Case studies about the new performance features will be included in an exciting three-days of presentations.

Risk Assessment will be a key requirement of the new standard, and we will present no fewer than three classes covering what Risk Assessment is, and methodologies to accomplish it.  Want the “complete” story of robot safeguarding?  We offer that also. 

Full details on the conference, including agenda, tabletop trade fair, registration (Early bird discounts expire September 7), hotel information and more, can be found at http://www.robotics.org/safety10 or call RIA at 734/994-6088.

I hope to see all of you in Indianapolis.  Thanks for reading, and have a safe day.