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The Year Ahead in Robot Safety

POSTED 02/04/2008  | By: Jeff Fryman, Director, Standards Development, Robotic Industries Association

Jeff Fryman, Director, Standards Development, Robotic Industries Association

We are only a few weeks into the New Year, and I hope one of your resolutions is to work safe.  Your association is busy with our continuing efforts to support this resolution, including the upcoming 2008 North American Robot Safety Conference, March 25 – 28, 2008 in Ontario, Canada.  And I have already been out in the field conducting RIA In-house training , which continues to be in high demand.  We are hopeful that this trend continues throughout the year.  This year I will be using these courses to introduce more information about the newest robot safety standard – ANSI/RIA/ISO 10218-1-2007 – the National Adoption of the ISO standard covering the robot only.


The New Year will also see the installation in North America of the first of the Next Generation Robots
 enabled by provisions in the newly adopted 10218-1 standard.  Several of these new optional features will  greatly enhance the safety associated with these Next Generation Robots.  Guarding will be improved by the ability to more closely control the Restricted Space.  Not only will safety be enhanced by these new robots but so will support of lean manufacturing techniques.

 R15.06 Safety CommitteeThe Robotic Industries Association’s R15.06 Safety Committee is continuing to closely monitor the activities of the ISO standard development efforts and make important inputs to the development.  Pending publication of the ISO Part 2 document, the committee has decided to develop a Technical Report providing information for implementing the 10218-1 in conjunction with the ANSI/RIA R15.06-1999.  The 10218-1 provides similar information as that contained in Clause 4 of R15.06 and can be used interchangeably with Clause 4 when complying with the other provisions of the R15.06.  The new Technical Report will discuss implementing some of the new features in the 10218-1 which are not covered directly in the R15.06.  The committee is dedicated to producing the Technical Report quickly and I anticipate that the new Technical Report will be out before the middle of the year.

The ISO team is making progress on developing the ISO 10218-2 standard for the integration and installation of robots and robot systems.  This document – containing the other 13 clauses from R15.06 – will be a very important addition to robot safety world-wide.  I anticipate that the ISO document will be released as a ‘‘Draft International Standard’‘ or ‘‘DIS’‘ in the next few months.  That will start a multi-month voting and review period required by ISO procedures.

Something else will be new this year – a new venue for the North American Robot Safety Conference.  This annual event in which the RIA is pleased to cooperate with the Canadian Standards Association in presenting is moving from Toronto to Waterloo, Ontario.  Waterloo offers an excellent conferencing center away from the frantic pace (and traffic congestion) of the Toronto Airport area.  Located 90 Kilometers or about one hour west of Toronto (and closer to both Detroit and Buffalo crossings) this venue should be convenient for both Canadian and USA participants.  This major safety event, comprised of pre-conference workshops, a two-day main conference and a tabletop trade fair showcasing the latest in robot and related safety products and vendors, will be held March 25 – 28, 2008.  Attendees will receive the latest information on robot safety and the new robot safety standards including valuable case studies on successful robot applications.

Registration has just opened, so make your plans now to attend.  For the latest information on the North American Robot Safety Conference or to register, click: 2008 North American Robot Safety Conference.

Let’s plan on meeting in Waterloo and in the interim - be safe, work safe!

Editor’s Notes:

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