Free and safe: productive cooperation between human and robot

Nov 8, 2022

More and more industrial production facilities, among them increasing numbers of small and medium manufacturing companies as well, have understood that robot applications provide the opportunity to address the pressing challenges facing industry. The trend towards human-machine cooperation is growing rapidly, however all involved need to trust in the reliability and safety of cooperative robot applications. SICK supports users from all industries during implementation and opens the door to safe productivity with its comprehensive turnkey portfolio of complete safety systems and services.

To enable humans to intervene at any time in cooperative robot applications, they must be able to reliable unhesitatingly on being protected from danger at all times.
To enable humans to intervene at any time in cooperative robot applications, they must be able to reliable unhesitatingly on being protected from danger at all times.

To enable humans to intervene at any time in cooperative robot applications, they must be able to reliable unhesitatingly on being protected from danger at all times. On this, the experts agree: There is no safe robot, only safe robot applications. The aim therefore is to consider the robot application in its entirety – the robot with its end effector, along with the equipment and the object that it carries. Because a cobot is only ever inherently safe: Analyzing and eliminating any residual risks in the specific application is the responsible task of safety experts.

 

All from a single source – safe complete solutions

SICK not only supports the automation industry during this process with its broad portfolio of hardware and software components right through to complete safety systems, but also regards itself as an advisory service provider for consulting and engineering. This ensures, through a close collaboration with the customer, a safe robot application for optimal work processes and reduced downtimes. Since the systems can be easily adapted to the specific robot application and manufacturing environment, the automation solutions deliver both greater flexibility and future-proof functionality at the same time.

 

Risk assessment for a safe start

When creating freely-accessible cooperative robot applications, an initial comprehensive risk assessment is a must. Robot manufacturers, system integrators, and system operators need to first determine the machine limits and identify potential hazards. The more than 250 certified safety experts worldwide at SICK provide support and advice in assessing and evaluating this, and suggest risk-reducing measures. In doing so, the requirements of the Machinery Directive and binding international standards such as ISO 10 218-2 / TS 15066 prescribe the required level of protection for safe human-machine cooperation.

Consulting and design

Individual risk assessments for efficient safety solutions

Risk assessment

Safety training offerings at all levels help ensure lasting trust in the new robot colleagues and increase the safety competency within the company.
Safety training offerings at all levels help ensure lasting trust in the new robot colleagues and increase the safety competency within the company.

Protection using a SICK safety system: Safe Robotics Area Protection

The next step is to create the safety concept. To this end, the team of experts define the protection goals and select suitable risk-reducing measures for optimal safety and productivity. Once all safety functions tailored to the work processes and machine functions have been defined, the specific safety design is produced. SICK offers complete Safe Robotics Area Protection systems, e.g., sBot Stop and sBot Speed, to suit the particular application. They comprise a safety laser scanner, safety light curtain or safety multibeam sensor that bring the robot to a safe stop or to a safe reduced speed when approached. Flexi Soft safety controllers ensure a safe communication between the external device and the robot controller. Thanks to a guaranteed performance level (PL) d, a high safety level can be reliably achieved.

Safety systems for robots

Finally, users save time and money as a result of the easy installation and commissioning of the preselected hardware and software components and the pre-configured and tested. functional logic. In the last step, the application is verified and validated at final acceptance and receives the “VERIFIED SAFETY” quality seal from SICK.

 

Gaining competencies and winning trust

Safety training offerings at all levels help ensure lasting trust in the new robot colleagues and increase the safety competency within the company. Specialists from all departments of the company expand their know-how through progressive training courses from “Basic” to a “Safety Expert” certificate either directly on site, via online classrooms, or in the Sensor Intelligence Academy at the company’s headquarters in Waldkirch bei Freiburg, Germany.

With its broad and varied turnkey solutions portfolio, SICK is helping create robot applications that can be freely and productively accessed and which, by reducing complexity, are making the industrial robot world safer.

 

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Sensor solutions for robotics
Robotics image
Sensor solutions for robotics
Robotics image

Working together as equals

Thanks to sensors from SICK, robots perceive more precisely. For all challenges in the field of robotics: Robot Vision, Safe Robotics, End-of-Arm Tooling, and Position Feedback.
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