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Safety Questions

Question Asked:

I am a safety specialist and I am trying to find any recommendations/requirements related to a robot brake test and the periodicity of such a check? I know the new KUKA robots come with an installed brake test. I write safety specifications and I am just trying to set some criteria. I would like to do more than just say "comply with the manufacturer's requirements for periiodic brake tests" if possible. Any thoughts or help would be appreciated.

4 Answers

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Roberta Nelson Shea - Global Technical Compliance Officer
Universal Robots A/S
rns [at] universal-robots [dot] com
(844) 462-6268, x1004

This question is really left to the manufacturer's recommendation combined with policy within the user facility. If the robot has stopping time and/or stopping distance limiting safety functions, then brake testing is not required at all because the monitored is done by the robot safety control system.

Johnathan Rankin - Automated Systems Specialist
Nidec Minster Corporation
johnathan [dot] rankin [at] minster.com
(419) 628-2331

Hello Jonathan (Great name by the way), I work for a KUKA system partner and have 10+ years experience with KUKA. I can speak to how their system works. In the KUKA "safe operation" software, there are two functions that must be carried out to ensure the robot arm is able to perform at the safety level that is required by the RIA 15.06. One is the mastering check. In that check, a dual channel prox switch is placed in the cell and the robot has to move a two prog fork to its location for a position check. The second is a brake check. In this check, the robot applies the brakes and moves each axis to see if there is any movement. When safe operations is enabled in the safety configuration, both of these tests must be carried out once per day and/or after each power cycle of the controller. There is a subroutine that is written that tries to run these tests. If they are not required, the program just skips to the next subroutine. Feel free to email me with more questions. Thanks!

Lee Burk - Manager, Training & Standards
Pilz Automation Safety L.P.
l [dot] burk [at] pilzusa.com
(734) 354-0272

Hello Jonathan, You are pretty much at the mercy of the manufacture's recommendations here but there is some guidance. 1. ANSI requires stopping performance monitoring whenever the safety of persons is dependent on a brake. Monitoring is required to measure and display the performance on every stop! 2. If testing of the function is performed automatically by the system, no additional testing may be required. If manual testing is required, the frequency required is monthly for performance level e or SIL 3 and annually for performance level d or SIL2 with HFT = 1. Refer to ISO 14119, 8.2. Hope this helps.

Lee Burk - Manager, Training & Standards
Pilz Automation Safety L.P.
l [dot] burk [at] pilzusa.com
(734) 354-0272

Hello Jonathan, You are pretty much at the mercy of the manufacture's recommendations here but there is some guidance. 1. ANSI requires stopping performance monitoring whenever the safety of persons is dependent on a brake. Monitoring is required to measure and display the performance on every stop! 2. If testing of the function is performed automatically by the system, no additional testing may be required. If manual testing is required, the frequency required is monthly for performance level e or SIL 3 and annually for performance level d or SIL2 with HFT = 1. Refer to ISO 14119, 8.2. Hope this helps.


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