Standardisation Activities Prepare for Future Safe Human-Robot-Collaboration
Revision of ISO 10218
Standardisation activities in robotics are in the process of meeting the challenge to design the basis for safe human-robot-collaboration. For the first time, standardization for human-robot-collaboration was addressed in ISO 10218-1 (Robots for industrial environments - Safety requirements - Part 1: Robot) in 2006. An explicit definition of its application and adequate safety performance levels have been proposed in this part of the standard. This will be further specified in the newest revision of ISO 10218-1 and in an additional Part 2 document which widens the focus from the robot to the robot system and its integration. Both parts of ISO 10218 have been published in July 2011.
A technical specification TS 15066 (Robots and Robotic Devices - Collaborative Robots) is currently under preparation in addition to ISO 10218. TS 15066 aims at supplying the user with assistance for the setup of human-robot-collaboration and the appropriate risk assessment procedures. The Fraunhofer-Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA, Germany, provides its experience from developments such as programming by manual guidance in the national as well as in the international standardisation activities.
Under the responsibilty of the "Normenausschuss Maschinenbau" (NAM) in DIN (Deutsches Institut für Normung - German Institute for Standardization) which is operated by the VDMA (Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau - German Engineering Federation) the German DIN committee for robotics standardisation (coordinated by VDMA Robotics and Automation) pioneers the standardization of safety aspects for human-robot-collaboration.
Injury criteria will enable a hazard assessment
A crucial part of these activities is to establish guidelines on how to deal with potential contact situations and how to define a risk reduction process that allows the design of safe configurations. Lump-sum limits on performance characteristics of the robot system will be abandoned from the new specifications. Instead, injury criteria considering the potential collision hazard of the overall machinery will be established. These injury criteria will enable a hazard assessment for an application and a robot system, therefore allowing for limits on performance characteristics that adequately reflect the hazard potential of the specific application.
For close collaboration scenarios it is essential to distinguish between desired and undesired contact during the operation, and to adequately consider potential consequences on the human health in case of a collision. Possibilities to avoid contact by additional sensing have to be traded with measures to limit the contact forces, surface pressures and the energy transfer on to a tolerable level. Experimental measurements for evaluating the hazard potential of specific robot systems in contact situations have to be conducted to provide reliable information on its hazard potential. Specific collision measurement equipment as well as test routines are currently under development at Fraunhofer IPA.