Robot Safety

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​​Robot systems have plenty of potential uses and applications in a wide variety of environments. However, safety must always be a primary consideration when planning their use. The core function of any robot safety system is to ensure that there is no possibility of inadvertent contact between a robot and an operator or the environment.

It is also important to remember that the type and degree of protection is not only dependent on the manipulator but also on the process and the end effector, other ancillary systems such as fixtures or conveyors must also be taken into consideration. The type and degree of protection needed may differ, depending upon the application, and may include a combination of safety fencing, light guard systems, pressure mats, or other sensing or hard-wired systems.

The legal aspects of safety are important and are governed by a few international standards that are usually embodied into national laws. The underlying International Standard for Robot Safety is ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 10218-1:2018, but there are also a few associated standards that should be considered such as those for collaborative robots. As with all safety requirements, it is important to seek professional advice where there is any doubt either from safety specialists or the Health and Safety Executive.