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We have two robots that do pick and place points. We are looking at minimizing the 8' cage that surrounds the line, how can this be done safely?
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Dear Tim, depending on the speed of the robots and the workpiece geometry, one could go for an upgrade of these robots to collaborative robots. What type of robots, what speed at the tcp, payload and type of workpieces are you handling? Best regards, Walter
You need to do a risk assessment to see if you can use a lower "cage" or perhaps a safety light curtain, laser scanner or safety matt. That would all depend on the risk assessment and if an alternative to the "cage" would provide sufficient protection from the hazards from the work cell.
The simplest method with existing robots is to mechanically limit their maximum operating envelope. Unfortunately, in many cases the robot manufacturer did not provide for this except as an option. It is possible to use the enclosure to limit the motion, provided it is strong enough to stop the robot without allowing enough deflection to create a hazard outside the cell. That can be difficult for larger robots. There must be reasonable limits for maximum force and torques.
Good question, how can this be done safely! There are ways to accomplish your tasks, but first, the cell needs to be evaluated to ensure the current state of the equipment is able to accommodate your desired goals. To start, you need to conduct a task-based risk assessment to understand the systems capabilities as well as the operational requirements of its intended use. During this risk assessment, you will be able to access the tasks, associated hazards of the tasks (safety risks) as well as evaluate the necessary safeguarding requirements of the system as designed and built. From there, the risk assessment should define potential mitigation activities (such as where and what type of guarding is required) to ensure you meet your acceptable level of safety for your system and its operation.