Collaborative Robot: Goodbye guards?
Let us continue our analysis of automation on productive process, answering one of the main doubts on the topic:
since Cobot are designed to work in close vicinity of operators, can Cobot be installed without guards?
First of all, it is necessary to clarify that it does not exist a priori collaborative robot but is its application and software design that labels a robot as “collaborative”.
It is therefore the final application that specifies the type of protections needed.
The standard EN ISO 10218-1 describes the requirements for robot used in collaborative applications:
- Safety-rated monitored stop: condition where the robot is stopped with drive power active, while a monitoring system with a specified sufficient safety performance ensures that the robot does not move;
- Manual control: the robot shall have the option to be controlled manually by a specific device;
- Speed and separation monitoring: speed and separation respect to the operator shall be continuously monitored in order to guarantee the operator safety;
- Power and force limiting: the robot shall be programmed in such a way that in case of contact with the operator, the power and force of the robot will always fall within safety threshold, to avoid injury.
The latter point generates two possible scenarios to evaluate during the analysis of a collaborative application:
Impact force is not dangerous for the operator
When the cobot is designed and programmed guaranteeing that the impact force (that is function of cobots’ speed, weight and transported load) is constrained within a safety threshold, is possible design a collaborative application without perimetral protection or others safety measures.
As consequence, it is necessary the implementation of technical measures for a correct determination of the physical parameter featured by the cobot.
Impact force is dangerous for the operator
In presence of specific need (in terms of cobot speed) is mandatory to avoid contact between operator and cobot when the latter is moving. It is necessary therefore provide safety measures to guarantee this aspect. These can be perimetral guards or others alternative solution such as photoelectric barrier, laser scan, radar or any other means that allow to continuously monitor the area surrounding the cobot.
We, as Advolo, can offer you a team of experts in the robot/cobot sector, happy to support you to design your robotic platform following the most updated standard carrying the project until the legal compliance.
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