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Reducing robot risk: How to design a safe industrial environment

29 November 2018

The increase in industrial automation, and particularly the use of industrial robots, is increasing the chance of an unexpected interaction between a human operator and a piece of other mobile equipment or moving machine.

The onus is on designers to implement appropriate and often overlapping safety precautions to avoid consequences ranging from interruptions in production to injury or even death.

Ideally, a safe factory is designed from the ground up, but many plant buildings predate the widespread adoption of automation, the use of industrial robots, and the rise of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technologies.

Numerous national and international safety standards apply to different types of industrial machinery, safety equipment, and production processes. Among these are:

• ANSI/RIA 15.06 (Robot and Robot System Safety)
• ISO 13856-1:2013 (Safety of machinery: Pressure sensitive protective devices)
• ISO 13849-1 (Safety of machinery: Safety related parts of control systems)
• ANSI B11.19-2003 (Safeguarding Equipment and Protecting Employees from Amputations)
• CSA Z432-16 (Safeguarding of Machinery)

The preferred approach in developing a safe factory environment has several layers. The process begins with a comprehensive identification, evaluation, and analysis of the hazards, and an assessment of their relative importance.

Read the full article in the December issue of DPA

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