There is this belief among many people that robots can handle any kind of job no matter how dangerous the particular task is. This is so especially for the collaborative robots designed to work closely with people. They look sqft even to the eyes as they come with soft rounded exteriors and special programmes that allow them to tackle almost every task without the aid of the human force. This belief may sometimes lead to problems because collaborative robots also need to work within recommended safety standards for them to be safe among humans. Some of the major robot manufacturing companies such as Universal Robots introduced collaborative robots in the market with the aim of having automated devices that humans can work closely with.
Collaborative Robots Safety
Collaborative robots or cobots are very handy when it comes to doing repetitive tasks in both the large and small industries that are mind numbing to their human co-workers. They can do simple tasks such as pick and place, handing of food orders in restaurants, arranging stuff in retail shelves, and harder tasks such as wielding, lifting heavy objects, palletizing loading, unloading and many others. just because they have soft exteriors and have sensors that guide them into doing everything effortlessly does however not mean the industries should not have any safety standards set aside for them. Below are the precautions to take to ensure the safety of the cobots and that of the humans.
Carry out a cobot risk assessment
When you are in the market for any industrial robots for sale, do not judge their safety by just looking at them. Almost all the collaborative robots and even the older traditional robots look very safe from the outside. It is however, necessary to assess all the aspects of the robot just to be sure that its safety is up to the required standards. The risk assessment monitoring steps to take in order to ensure your cobot is in line with the expected ISO guidelines are their speed and separation capabilities, hand guiding motions, power and force limiting capabilities and their safety stops.
Do not assume cobots are safer than the traditional robots
The truth is cobots are a safer alternative to traditional robots but if you are using them for the first time, do not just assume this without learning everything there is to know about them. They work better around humans and can take over all the repetitive and heavy tasks from humans but assuming they are safer without ensuring that their work environment is safe too may lead to some problems. Assess the cobots on a case-by-case basis to avoid ending up with dangerous situations at the work place,
Always remember collaborative robots are machines
As much as cobot manufacturing companies ensure that cobots work alongside humans harmoniously, one of the mistakes many industries make is to ensure that the cobots are almost human. Having such beliefs leads to unexpected safety problems occurring. For example if an employee reaches out for a tool in a safe guarded area operated by robots, the assumption is the robot will stop and allow the employee to pick it up.
What you forget is that is robots domain and it will try to reach out for the tool as well. This may put the cobot and the human both at risk. Always remember that whereas a human has feelings, a robot does not have the same feelings and only follows commands from software applications. If not guided properly, a cobot with a knife would be a big risk to all those around it.
To achieve safety for the cobots and the humans in every work place, the areas of operation must meet all the safety requirements otherwise there will be risks involved. Collaborative robots need collaborative environments in order to deliver their work efficiently. Before installing a cobot, you shou always check with the manufacturer for the full ISO guidelines regarding the risk assessments to carry out on the cobot.