Safety issues are a priority as greater numbers of robots and people work alongside each other. Robots are advancing with capabilities like improved gripping and sensing, allowing robots to be used more widely in many industries.
As upgrades are made to technology, safety standards must be updated.
Industry professionals will be on hand at the National Robot Safety Conference in Pittsburgh from October 12 to October 14 followed by the International Collaborative Robots Workshop on October 15. Both events will be held at the Omni William Penn Hotel.
During the safety conference, you’ll get a close look at robotic safety standards and related compliance issues. Attending will better equip you to use industrial automation as an operational advantage.
Here’s a preview.
Changing Safety Standards
The concept of robots has been around for centuries. An online article on robotics safety in 2010, written by Rockwell Automation Australia, mentioned that the philosopher Aristotle in 322 B.C. “envisioned an intelligent tool that ‘when ordered or even of its own accord, could do the work that befits it.'”
So it took a couple of thousand years but Aristotle’s vision in the modern era started taking shape after World War Two. The first American Standard Safety Code for industry was approved in 1921. Additional standards were developed in every decade since to keep up with changes in home appliances and the advent of the nuclear age.
Today’s manufacturing facilities, large and small, are equipped with intelligent tools and significant changes to robots are occurring in a matter of months versus decades or years.
Advantages of New Standards
Risk assessment issues as well as functional safety and safety circuit design will be among the topics covered at the conference. New standards may seem limiting but they can enhance creativity.
This perspective is covered in an article on the Robotic Industries Association website titled The Shrinking Footprint of Robot Safety: “In conjunction with new safety standards and advanced safety peripheral devices, robots and humans are now able to go where few dared before.”
The director of standards for the Robotic Industries Association in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Pat Davison, was quoted in the article and described how new standards benefit all parties involved in industrial automation.
“Manufacturers have more options in terms of technology, and through risk assessment, the end users have a variety of options to utilize and still achieve safety. Compare that to a prescriptive standard that essentially says put a cage around everything.”
Standards aren’t created to restrict growth and development, but rather the standards are shifting to keep people safe as technology adapts to market demands and trends.
Robots working alongside people is one of those trends and will be covered in the second conference.
What’s New with Collaborative Robots
Padded arms and appealing colors are some of the ways collaborative robots, or cobots, are changing on the outside. Get a close look at all the developments in this write up, Major OEMs Fast-Tracking Cobots.
The hot topic in industrial automation is only going to generate more interest as small-to-medium size manufacturers are among those who see the benefits. The October 15th event will be informative and fast-paced and you’ll get in on the latest news with cobots.
Expect a global view of the technology, key safety issues, and how the use of collaborative robots impacts people.
Presenters include leading university researchers like Howie Choset of Carnegie Mellon University and Dr. Henrik Christensen of Georgia Tech.
Pat Davison of the Robotics Industries Association will be on hand as will industry perspectives from Jim Lawton, Rethink Robotics, Carl Vause, Soft Robotics and Marty Linn, General Motors.
Both conferences will offer the hands-on knowledge and applications you need to utilize robotic automation to the fullest.