Thanks to collaborative robots, some of the literal walls between man and machine are no longer required. Here are four key ways new age robots can work alongside humans.
Force-limited design. Force limited robots incorporate design elements to regulate speed and force so that any accidental contact will cause less or no harm to a worker.
Safety-rated monitored stop. A stop action safety design forces the robot to cease movement. This robot type has actually been in use for more than a decade. Today’s technology, however, allows the use of internal monitoring of the safety controls.
Hand-guided. This system requires reduced speed combined with safety-rated monitored stops which allow the worker to interact with the robot through direct handling.
Speed and separation monitoring. Using sophisticated sensors, the robot can detect a safe distance from a worker and reduce speeds when it detects a worker is present.
A collaborative robot cannot be collaborative without a human presence. Safety must be evaluated according to specific situations and uses. While the various types of collaborative robots have come a long way to preventing catastrophic accidents, safety experts must still evaluate each collaborative robot work environment and various applications as relative safety standards evolve.