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Four types of collaborative robots for manufacturing applications

Safety monitored stop, speed and separation, power and force limiting, and hand guiding are the four major types of collaborative robots and each has a specific benefit for manufacturers.

By Robotic Industries Association (RIA) February 16, 2019
Courtesy: Bob Vavra, CFE Media

Collaborative robots are a relatively new invention in the robotics industry, but there are several different kinds. Safety and programming features define the different types of collaborative robots. Each type of collaborative robot also deploys unique methods and technologies for maintaining a safe operating space.

Four types of collaborative robots

According to ISO 10218 part 1 and part 2, the four types of collaborative robots are:

  1. Safety monitored stop. These collaborative robots are intended for applications where the robot and human workers have minimal interaction. Typically, these types of collaborative robots actually leverage an industrial robot with a series of sensors that stop robot operation when a human enters the work envelope.
  2. Speed and separation. These types of collaborative robots are similar to safety monitored stop collaborative robots in that they leverage an industrial robot. Speed and separation collaborative robots, however, use more advanced vision systems to slow operations down when a human worker approaches and stop operation altogether when a worker is too close to the robot.
  3. Power and force limiting. These collaborative robots are built with rounded corners and intelligent collision sensors. This also lets them quickly detect contact with a human worker and stop operation. These collaborative robots, which use collaborative robot arms, also feature force limitations to ensure any collisions are unlikely to result in injury.
  4. Hand guiding. These collaborative robots are defined by the way in which they’re programmed. An operator can guide the collaborative robot arm by hand to program the robot to perform new tasks. This allows for quick reprogramming to minimize downtime, as well as reduce the need for robot operators with specialized programming knowledge.

This article originally appeared on the Robotics Online BlogRobotic Industries Association (RIA) is a part of the Association for Advancing Automation (A3), a CFE Media content partner. Edited by Chris Vavra, production editor, Control Engineering, CFE Media,

Robotic Industries Association (RIA)