Recently, the American National Standards Institute approved a new standard for robot safety. These new robot safety measures basically state that humans are safely able to work in close contact with robots, possibly even without the need for fixturing or positioners.
This change in standards may make manufacturers think that robots pose no threat to their human workers. Thinking of this nature would be a mistake. When working with robots, workers need to show constant vigilance and follow all safety standards to stay safe from injury.
According to a study by Milos Vasic and Aude Billard that was presented at the 2013 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, robots are able to move in a powerful and rapid motion throughout a large operational space. While there are safeguards in place like safety fencing, light curtains and pressurized mats, new robot safety training should be thoroughly taught to all new workers, who may underestimate the power they are working with.
Training and understanding the robot are probably the best tools that can be used for new robotic safety measures. Now that robots and humans are approved to work in closer contact than ever before, the robot programmers, and others who work in close proximity with the robot are the once most easily injured.
Let’s be clear – no robot is dangerous on its own. There aren’t robots sitting around manufacturing lines plotting to injure and kill their co-workers. Workers tend to get too comfortable, or as said above, underestimate the power or reach of the robot. When this happens, workers get injured, despite all the new robot safety guards in place.
RobotWorx, a certified integrator for robotic companies like FANUC, Motoman, ABB, Universal Robots, and KUKA, offers training for up to three people on any system or robotic workcell that is purchased from the company. Customers are free to come into the facility and work with a RobotWorx technician, learning all the ins and outs of the robots, along with all the safety measures when working with the robot. The customers can then go back and train their employees with the same new robot safety standards.