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Finding common ground in a world of numerous environments – Compliance for Robotic Companies
06. January 2017 / By Roberta Nelson / 0 Comments
The first thing, which has to be clarified for the topic of compliance, is always in what industry and for which purpose will this robot system be used. Compliance requirements differ from application to application, e.g EMC thresholds, temperature, indoors/outdoors, performance or repeatability and work environment. The robot is the arm or manipulator with its controller, while the robot system is the robot plus the end-effector for the intended application or use. For other work environments, e.g electronics, pharma-production or foods, there could be additional requirements, such as cleanroom use or wash-down.
Depending on the application and industry, there are very different expectations. This is also true for compliance in a safety context, especially when it comes to human-robot-collaboration without additional safeguards (“cage-free”).
There is no unified means to test whether an application meets the free-space values and many have come up with their own testing methods. This results in different forces being measured. Thus, differences can arise in determining the appropriate limits which each robot should be configured so that the application complies in order to be deemed cage-free collaborative applications. Therefore, compliance managers need a common and comprehensively accepted tool to measure and simulate the quasi-static and transient contact values for a given application speed. These are some of the next challenges for standardization to aid in the compliance collaborative and “cage-free” robotics technology.
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Roberta Nelson Shea is the Global Technical Compliance Officer at Universal Robots responsible for product safety and reducing barriers to global acceptance and deployment. She has already spent 34 years as a professional within the field of manufacturing automation, 23 of them additionally chairing the US-American National Robot Safety Committee. She has also been elected one of the top 100 Women in Safety by the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE). As chair of the ANSI/RIA R15.06 she has developed and defined various technical standards for industrial robots. Most recently, as chair of the committee ISO/TC 299 (ISO/TC 184/SC2), she lead the introduction of ISO/TS 15066, which, as an extension of the established ISO 10218, is the first document defining standardized safety requirements within human-robot-collaboration.