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SAFETY STANDARDS FOR MOBILE ROBOTS.

 

R15.08 Part One is the Robot Industry Association’s first class C standard for mobile robots; It is expected to reduce costs as well as reduce risk and liability for the end user.

Automated mobile robots have been gaining a lot of attention in the industry for several years now. Often seen as an alternative to autonomous vehicles (AGVs) used to automate material handling tasks, mobile robots offer the advantage of being able to navigate complex environments without There is no need for fixed wire strips or magnetic tracks along the floor to guide their path.

Since the emergence and outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, mobile robot adoption has increased due to the robot’s ability to help meet the distinct requirements of society in industries ranging from healthcare to manufacturing. . Smart warehouse apps have also seen a surge in mobile robot adoption, as domestic consumers ordering online has increased the need for quick order fulfillment at a time when few workers can be more present at the warehouse.

However, a major concern remains safety, especially as mobile robots have their increasing mass. Until recently, no official safety standards were put in place.

* New safety standard for mobile robots.

R15.08 Part one, the first mobile robot safety standard from the Robotics Industry Association (RIA). R15.08 has been in development for over 4 years and was published late last year. The standard provides technical requirements for the design and integration of mobile robot bases equipped with controls such as robotic arms and other accessories.

According to Melonee Wise, Managing Director at Fetch Robotics and a member of the R15.08 standards committee, R15.08 is a class C standard, meaning it is specific to a particular technology, as opposed to a standard class A standards, which cover basic concepts and design principles common to all machines, and class B standards, which include safety principles that can be used on many types of machinery within a category certain.
Type C notation is notable to the end user for a number of reasons:

First, the development of type C standards often heralds a new stage in the maturation of an innovative product and tends to be more universally adopted. The robotic arms and stationary AGVs both follow this model, Wise says. Those interested in space should therefore expect the deployment of mobile robots to accelerate to the new standard.

In addition, while legal compliance with class C standards is not typically enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), organizations can still expect voluntary compliance.

“One of the things that has happened in a lot of cases in the US with class C standards is that because it’s so hard to keep up with the technology, OSHA doesn’t enforce specific compliance. So technically there are no robotic standards that OSHA [currently] enforces, but they say it is important to adhere to these standards to ensure worker safety.”

Wise said. “While these entities may not completely require these, if you don’t comply they can still say ‘look, these are best practices, and you should follow’. In that case, you could still be cited or fined for gross negligence if you don’t comply with the applicable standard. ”

* Update and improve safety standards with mobile robots.

Previously, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) invented standards B56.6 for AGV and R15.06 for stationary robotic arms. However, B56.6 only deals with vehicles that follow fixed guideways and R15.06 does not consider robotic arms that have been integrated with mobile robocars. In contrast, R15.08 is specially designed for not just mobile robots — both mobile robot bases designed to carry materials as well as those equipped with robotic arms, controllers, and external accessories. other vi.

Accordingly, R15.08 is divided into three parts: AMR base, fixed robotic arms mounted on the base and other mounting accessories such as tools. Wise notes that this is a construction unique to a standard, but is necessary because mounting other components on the AMR base can have a significant effect on performance.

“Because an arm or other accessory can affect things like sensors, driving, tracking, and stability, the person who makes that [robot], whether it’s the home or the home,” says Wise. integrator or someone else, becomes a producer,” says Wise. “As a result, this standard can create a difficult transition for some integrators, who previously had no responsibility to certify or demonstrate that they conform to standards of this nature. this.”

Wise emphasizes that integrators looking to avoid being left out of the market need to adapt to this increased expectation, as customers using Mobile robotics use will inevitably start to demand conformance to standards as it grows in popularity.

According to Wise, R15.08 will make it faster and easier to deploy mobile robots without the need for an independent safety assessment. This not only reduces costs, but also reduces risk and liability for the end user.

In the future, the R15.08 committee will develop R15.08 Part Two, which will include extended safety requirements for mobile robotic systems and system integrators as well as safety requirements for teams. mobile robot. R15.08 Part Three will further expand the end-user safety requirements of mobile robots.

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