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A simple guide to robot safety

17 November 2016

Industrial robots are automated moving devices with multiple axes. Motion paths, sequences and angles can be freely programmed and controlled by sensors.

Robots can also be fitted with grippers and other tools, enabling them to manipulate objects and carry out production tasks. Robots are well suited to carry out many different automated tasks and make frequent changes to batches and products.

Traditionally, the automotive industry has led the way to use robots on a large scale. However, if used without care, robots can be dangerous to humans. Back in 1961 when General Motors introduced the first industrial robot to its production line, humans were at high risk inside a robot’s work zone. Since that time, robot manufacturers such as FANUC have spent enormous effort and money to produce models with the best possible safety levels.

As robots have become more refined, and applied across more industry sectors, mainly for heavy work, devices are used to monitor a robot’s surroundings, such as vision and force sensors that allow robots to see and feel what is around them. Using smart synthetic skins, scientists are even looking to endow future robots with a human-like sense of touch.


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