Safety in industrial robotics

In industrial robotics, the safety issues can be described into two factors such as:

  • Support of robots
  • Dangers caused by robots to the human operators.

The first factor of safety issue is concerned with the support of robots. In olden days, the human workers were mostly affected by diseases, while working on hazardous workplaces. Some health hazards caused to human operators in the workplaces are toxic fumes, heat, radiation, noise, physical injury, and so on. Therefore, the introduction of robots was required in several industrial applications like spot welding, arc welding, spray coating, die casting, and more.

The second one is concerned with the dangers caused by robots to the human operators. The robots can also be a dangerous invention when the human workers get too close with them. This may happen mostly in anyone of the following circumstances given below:

  • While programming a robot
  • While servicing a robot
  • While functioning a robot, when the human worker is inside the work cell.

When human operators are employed in these danger areas, they may be affected by physical damages during collision with the robot, falling of work parts from the grippers, electric shocks, and slack power cables in the floor.

These dangers to human operators can be reduced by applying safety measures such as:

  • Building high floor surfaces for covering the power cables
  • Grounding the power cables accurately for avoiding the electric shocks

Moreover, other safety measures include:

  • The arm speed must be decreased, while programming or inspecting a robot.
  • The power of the robot must be switched OFF, while servicing a robot.

Additional safety measures must be introduced to minimize the risk caused to human operators by the robots. These safety procedures must be considered in the working unit as a part of work cell control system or work cell design.

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