Importance of ISO 13849-1 for machine, robotic applications

The ISO 13849-1 safety standard from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a universal standard meant to help build safety systems in machinery with sufficient reliability, which is vital for robotics, which present unique potential dangers to workers.
By Robotic Industries Association (RIA) January 23, 2018

The ISO 13849-1 safety standard from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is a universal standard meant to help build safety systems in machinery with sufficient reliability. For machine builders and users, ISO 13849-1 is a guide for safe operations. This safety standard replaced the older EN 954-1 standard and has made many improvements, although the categories used for defining system structure are the same.

What does ISO 13849-1 apply to?

ISO defines the first part of ISO 13849-1 as follows:

Image courtesy: Bob Vavra, CFE Media"ISO 13849-1:2015 provides safety requirements and guidance on the principles for the design and integration of safety-related parts of control systems (SRP/CS), including the design of software. For these parts of SRP/CS, it specifies characteristics that include the performance level required for carrying out safety functions. It applies to SRP/CS for high demand and continuous mode, regardless of the type of technology and energy used (electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, mechanical, etc.), for all kinds of machinery."

ISO 13849-1 uses a statistical analysis to determine the probability of failure and danger over time of components and circuitry to find a performance level (PL). The PL can then be used in risk assessments to ensure the proper safety devices have been implemented. ISO 13849-1 is important because designing safety features into machinery is one of the best ways to ensure safety over the lifetime of equipment. It is a proactive measure for maintaining a safe work environment.

Manufacturers and integrators both have a major responsibility when it comes to operational safety. A safe environment protects workers, machinery and bottom lines alike-a worthy investment for anyone in the industrial sector.

Safety has never been more important in today’s factory setting. The robotics industry works hard at staying safe, but robots still present unique dangers to workers. With industrial robots expanding across the globe, safety standards have helped keep the workplace safe.

This article originally appeared on the Robotics Online Blog. Robotic 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, cvavra@cfemedia.com.