ROBOT SAFETY Types of Accidents. Robotic incidents can be grouped into four categories: 1. Impact or Collision Accidents.

Unpredicted movements, component malfunctions, or unpredicted program changes related to the robot's arm or peripheral equipment can result in contact accidents. 2. Crushing and Trapping Accidents. A worker's limb or other body part can be trapped between a robot's arm and other peripheral equipment, or the individual may be physically driven into and crushed by other peripheral equipment. 3. Mechanical Part Accidents. The breakdown of the robot's drive components, tooling or endeffector, peripheral equipment, or its power source is a mechanical accident. The release of parts, failure of gripper mechanism, or the failure of end-effector power tools (e.g., grinding wheels, buffing wheels, deburring tools, power screwdrivers, and nut runners) are a few types of mechanical failures. 4. Other Accidents. Other accidents can result from working with robots. Equipment that supplies robot power and control represents potential electrical and pressurized fluid hazards. Ruptured hydraulic lines could create dangerous high-pressure cutting streams or whipping hose hazards. Environmental accidents from arc flash, metal spatter, dust, electromagnetic, or radio-frequency interference can also occur. In addition, equipment and power cables on the floor present tripping hazards. POTENTIAL SAFETY HAZARDS The accidents are triggered by some undesirable action or error. The potential safety hazards that may lead to an accident include: 1. Human Errors. Inherent prior programming, interfacing activated peripheral equipment, or connecting live input-output sensors to the microprocessor or a peripheral can cause dangerous, unpredicted movement or action by the robot from human error. The incorrect activation of the "teach pendant" or control panel is a frequent human error. The greatest problem, however, is over familiarity with the robot's redundant motions so that an individual places himself in a hazardous position while programming the robot or performing maintenance on it. 2. Control Errors. Intrinsic faults within the control system of the robot, errors in software, electromagnetic interference, and radio frequency interference are control errors. In addition, these errors can occur due to faults in the hydraulic, pneumatic, or electrical subcontrols associated with the robot or robot system. 3. Unauthorized Access. Entry into a robot's safeguarded area is hazardous because the person involved may not be familiar with the safeguards in place or their activation status. 4. Mechanical Failures. Operating programs may not account for cumulative mechanical part failure, and faulty or unexpected operation may occur. 5. Environmental Sources. Electromagnetic or radio-frequency interference (transient signals) should be considered to exert an undesirable influence on robotic operation and increase the potential for injury to any person working in the area. Solutions to environmental hazards should be documented prior to equipment start-up. 6. Power Systems. Pneumatic, hydraulic, or electrical power sources that have malfunctioning control or transmission elements in the robot power system can disrupt electrical signals to the control and/or power-supply lines. Fire risks are increased by electrical overloads or by use of flammable hydraulic oil. Electrical shock and release of stored energy from accumulating devices also can be hazardous to personnel.

under. gates and perhaps presence sensing devices. including parts held by an end-effector. set up and risk assessment. Fixed Barrier Guard A fixed barrier guard is a fence that requires tools for removal. They are discussed below: 1. Interlocked Barrier Guard This is a physical barrier around a robot work envelope incorporating gates equipped with interlocks. Level 1. 3. and facilities of a robot or robot system. or around the fence. or around the fence is not possible when the gate is closed. Level 3 requires the capability to detect the presence of a person or other obstruction in direct contact with. if inadequately done. 2. Various techniques are available to prevent employee exposure to the hazards which can be imposed by robots. requirements.7. or in immediate proximity to the robot arm. In comparison to perimeter guarding.13 Level 2 involves the sensing of the presence of humans anywhere within the free space in which the robot moves by means of presence sensing devices. The design. to perform a specific task under controlled conditions. and to stop the robot movement immediately. utilities. the perimeter. This is done by using trip device or collision detector strip working on a similar principle as the safety mat. over. it prevents access through. the emphasis is on detection rather than on a physical barrier. A typical practical barrier is an interlocked fence designed so that access through.usually a combination of fences. Different requirements of guardings may be applied for each of these zones. it may be necessary to use more than one level of guarding in some cases. and layout of equipment. over. Improper Installation. Robot Safeguarding Methods: Generally. Like the interlocked barrier guard. Restarting the operation requires closing the gate and reactivating a control switch located outside of the barrier. can lead to inherent hazards. Awareness Barrier Device . Depending on the application. can be guarded by a physical barrier. it is possible to identify the hazard areas associated with robots in terms of three levels Level 1 is the work station perimeter Level 2 is within the work station Level 3 is adjacent to the robot arm. It provides sufficient clearance for a worker between the guard and any robot reach. under. At least one level of guarding will be required for most robot installations. These interlocks are designed so that all automatic operations of the robot and associated machinery will stop when any gate is opened.

radio frequency. Trip Devices Trip bars and collision detector strip which works on a similar principle as that of the safety mat may be mounted on the robot arm itself for Level 3 guarding of smaller robots where operator has to stand at close proximity to the robot when it is idle.Effective presence sensing devices stop all motion of the robot if any part of a worker's body enters the protected zone. so that the robot can be stopped as quickly as possible. Floor mats (pressure sensitive mats) and light curtains (similar to arrays of photocells) can be used to detect a person stepping into a hazardous area near a robot. 5. an impulse from the detector will cause. Also. ultrasonics. Such a device is acceptable only in situations where a hazard analysis indicates that the hazard is minimal and inter locked or fixed barrier guards are not feasible. such proximity detectors are not recommended for such use unless a specific analysis confirms their acceptability for the intended use. 4. and sensing field interference due to robot operation. via a suitable interface. laser. they are designed to be fail-safe so that the occurrence of a failure within the device will leave it unaffected or convert it into a mode in which its failed state would not result in an accident. care must be used in their selection to insure adequate safety and reliability. Audible and Visible Warning Systems . In some cases this means deactivation of the robot. Such brakes will counteract the effects of robot arm inertia. 6. When depressed by contact with an obstruction. Similarly. or stepped around. Although some of these devices are already available in the safety equipment marketplace. Emergency Stop Switches Emergency stop button and/or trip wires should be installed around the perimeter of the robot’s operating area in easily accessible locations as well as on the robot’s teach box and control console. crawled under. the collision detection device must be also a fail to safety type. Proximity detectors operating on electrical capacitance. 7. 8. Interlocked or fixed barrier guards provide a positive protection needed to prevent worker exposure to robotic systems hazards. an emergency stop of the robot. The detector should be sufficiently sensitive to permit the robot arm movement to stop immediately. All safety devices and stop buttons should be hard-wired to the robot controller and power brake system using hardware-based components and not part of the software or robot control programme.This is a device such as a low railing or suspended chain that defines a safety perimeter and is intended to prevent inadvertent entry into the work envelope but can be climbed over. Hitting the emergency button stops power to motors and causes the brakes on each joint to be applied immediately. Presence Sensing Devices The presence detectors that are most commonly used in robotics safety are pressure mats and light curtains. Cutting off all power could create hazards such as a sudden dropping of a robot's arm or flinging of a workpiece. Factors which are considered in the selection of such devices include spatial limitations of the field. environmental conditions affecting the reliability of the field. Emergency Robot Braking Dangerous robot movement is arrested by dynamic braking systems rather than simple power cutoff. At this time. and television principles are currently undergoing reliability testing in research laboratories because of recognized limitations in their capability of detecting the presence of personnel.

pull cords. and others who could be exposed to hazards associated with a robot's operation. The portable programming control device contains an emergency stop. The control system for a robot with lengthy start-up time is designed to allow for the isolation of power to components having mechanical motion from the power required to energize the complete robot system. 2. maintenance personnel. Among the factors to be considered in such an analysis are the task a robot is programmed to perform. An effective safety system protects operators. The purposes of audible and visible signals need to be easily recognizable. 10. programmers. 5. A combination of methods may be used to develop an effective safety system. The systems also prevent hazardous conditions in case of hydraulic. the start-up and the programming procedures. A robot system is designed so that it could be moved manually on any of its axes without using the system drive power. SAFETY SYSTEMS The proper selection of an effective robotics safety system must be based on hazard analysis of the operation involving a particular robot. 11. The main control panel is located outside the robot system work envelope in sight of the robot. These are clearly situated in easily located positions and the position identifications are a prominent part of 3. SAFETY GUIDELINES FOR CONTROL DEVICES The following characteristics are essential for control devices: 1. 6. engineers. Each robot is equipped with a separate circuit breaker that can be locked only in the "off" position. Redundancy and backup systems are recommended. environmental conditions and location of the robot. 7. human errors. 4. User-prompt displays are used to minimize human errors. Actuating controls are designed to indicate the robot's operating status. 8. and possible robot malfunctions. Controls that initiate power or motion are constructed and guarded against accidental operation. Automatic stop capabilities are provided for abnormal robot component speeds and robot traverses beyond the operating envelope. . Readily accessible emergency stops (palm buttons. particularly if a robot can create serious hazardous conditions. etc.) are located in all zones where needed. requirements for corrective tasks to sustain normal operations.Audible and visible warning systems are not acceptable safeguarding methods but may be used to enhance the effectiveness of positive safeguards. pneumatic or vacuum loss or change. Control systems are selected and designed so that they prevent a robot from automatically restarting upon restoration of power after electrical power failure. All control devices are clearly marked and labeled as to device purpose. 9.

on floors and walls. MAINTENANCE AND PROGRAMMING Good installation. 4. . such as springs and accumulators. and related requirements. if possible. The robot manufacturer's preventive maintenance schedule is followed rigorously. Stored energy devices. Signs and markings indicating the zones of movement of the robot are displayed prominently on the robot itself and. maintenance. 11. All control systems meet prescribed standards for electrical grounding. Only programmers have access to the work envelope and full control of the robot when it is in the teach mode. 8. hazardous locations. 10. are neutralized before robot servicing. The robot is secured to prevent vibration movement and tip over. The robot is installed in accordance with the manufacturer's guidelines and applicable codes. 3. wiring. Robots are compatible with environmental conditions. Power to the robot conforms to the manufacturer's specifications. A lock-out procedure is established and enforced for preventive maintenance or repair operations.12. and programming practices include the following: 1. 7. All robot motion initiated from a teach pendant used by a programmer located within the robot work envelope is subject to the standard slow speed recommendation of 10 in/sec (250 mm/sec). 2. SAFETY GUIDELINES FOR INSTALLATION. 9. Installation is such that no additional hazards are created such as pinch points with fixed objects and robot components or energized conductor contact with robot components. 6. 12. A periodic check of all safety-critical equipment and connections is established. Stops are placed on the robot system's axes to limit its motions under rated load and maximum speed conditions. 5.

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