Collaborative robots have brought great changes to industrial processes and their companies, achieving a link between humans and robots that provides greater efficiency, flexibility and performance.
A collaborative structure can be achieved in several ways. In reality, with additional security features and proper integration, most conventional robots can become “collaborative.”
According to the 2012 ISO 10218-1 safety standard, there are four different types of collaborative robot operations
- Safety rated monitored stop: When an operator is inside the “collaborative workspace”, the collaborative robot activity of “safety rated controlled stop” prevents the robot from moving, but the robot units continue to operate. The collaborative workspace is a shared workspace where the robot and operator can work together to complete tasks. One of the peculiarities of this concept is a manual loading station.
- Manual Guidance: “Manually Guided” robot operation allows robot movement through direct input from a system controlled manually by an operator. When an operator enters the shared workspace, the robot will remain at a controlled stop until the operator activates the manual guidance system with an enable switch.
- Speed and clearance monitoring: It is where the robot and the operator can travel in the shared workspace at the same time, as long as the operator maintains the predetermined protective separation distance from the robot. This type of collaborative application is generally monitored by a safety-rated laser area scanner. A measurement based on robot speed, operator speed, and system response time is used to calculate the separation distance. The separation distance should be increased as the robot moves faster.
- Inherent force and power limitation by design: Collaborative activity that requires “limitation of power and force by inherent design or control” requires a special robot with built-in power or force feedback, allowing it to detect human contact. This is the most common form of collaboration between robots and is suitable for applications where an operator must be in the same area as the robot on a regular basis.
The four types of collaborative robotic operations allow varying degrees of human-robot interaction. Each style allows you to remove some or all of the security fences, based on the risk assessment.