Review of research in robotics

Collaborating Robots (COBOTS)

Collaborative industrial robots are complex machines that work hand in hand with people. In a joint work process, robots support and relieve people. An example: a robot lifts and positions a heavy workpiece while a person welds on light iron hooks. In this work activity, there is a great spatial proximity between the person and various robot elements - for example robot arm, tool. This can lead to direct contact between the robot and people. A comparable situation can be found with mobile service robots, which are used in increasing numbers in the working world and in public or private environments close to people.

Until now, when using robots, separating protective devices were necessary in order to safely protect people who were in the working area of ​​the robot against mechanical effects and thus against injuries caused by fast robot parts. In the course of the revision and reorganization of the relevant standards for industrial robots, the new field of application of collaborative robots was created. The revised standard EN ISO 10218, parts 1 and 2, as well as the ISO / TS 15066 specification, which began in 2010, define the safety requirements for the application area "collaborative robots". In addition to the robot itself, the collaborative robot includes the end effector - the tool adapted to the robot arm with which the robot performs activities - and the objects that are moved with it. The close or direct contact between the collaborating robot and the working person inevitably results in the possibility of collision. The robot manufacturer's risk assessment must therefore include the intended operational workplace. In addition to the Machinery Directive, this risk assessment is based on EN ISO 10218, Parts 1 and 2.

Since there are no longer any separating protective devices when using collaborative robots for certain work or collaboration rooms, other technical protective measures must be used here. You have to continuously determine the risk of collision and constantly minimize it within the framework of the robot control - although a residual risk remains. These risks of injury from collisions between robots and people must be weighed up and assessed. On the initiative of the Wood and Metal Department, Machinery, Systems and Manufacturing Automation (SG MAF), the IFA is developing technological, medical / biomechanical, testing, ergonomic and work-organization requirements for such workplaces in several development and research projects. They supplement and specify the standard requirements.