Robot safety standard approved: robots, humans can collaborate safely

The American National Standards Institute has approved ANSI/RIA R15.06-2012, which addresses collaborative operation between workers and robots and soft axis and space limiting technology.


A new American national robot safety standard has been approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Developed by Robotic Industries Association (RIA), the ANSI/RIA R15.06-2012 standard has been updated for the first time since 1999 and is now harmonized with the International ISO 10218:2011 standard for robot manufacturers and integrators.

RIA robotic safety standard was discussed at Pack Expo 2012. Courtesy CFE MediaA key feature in the standard is “collaborative operation,” which is the introduction of a worker to the loop of active interaction during automatic robot operation. Systems can now be designed for the operator to directly load/unload the robot or manually drive the robot to a selected location thus eliminating costly fixtures.

Another key feature is that the standard addresses “safety-rated soft axis and space limiting” technology. This optional feature available on new robots may have different names depending on the robot manufacturer, but the functionality remains the same. Safety-rated software is used to control the robot motion so that restricted space can be more flexibly designed. Case studies have shown that that this saves both floor space and cost in the system design.

Standards development efforts will now shift to issuing new documents which will provide guidance to the user on using the new ANSI/RIA R15.06, including technical reports on risk assessment and proper implementation of safeguarding robot systems.

American National Standards Institute (ANSI) 

Robotic Industries Association (RIA) 

See related articles below for more, related robotic safety information, videos, and photos. Also see the Machine Safety Blog.

- Edited by Control Engineering, Plant Engineering, CFE Media.

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