Collaborative Robot Safety Made Simple
We all know that collaborative robots help increase productivity in manufacturing processes. But how exactly you can ensure that the robot application is safe and compliant with current standards?
To protect personnel, it’s important to restrict access in hazardous robot areas. Many manufacturers are looking for a solution that still allows workers to safely access the robot to intervene in the process for quality checks or to deliver materials. This is where SICK’s Safe Robotics Area Protection (SRAP) system comes in handy.
The SRAP product families comprise of a series of safety systems and products designed specifically for cooperative, human-robot applications. Now you can have the safety and flexibility needed to accomplish manufacturing and production tasks, while still having access to the robot.
SRAP works well in applications where cobots are used, usually in the small to medium size range. Cobots typically perform tasks like machine tending, material handling, screw driving, gluing, polishing, laser marking, and body inspection. It provides easy integration between safety sensors and the robot controller with proven logic functions, leading to less downtime and an optimized working process.
In total, two different product packages are available that perform different robot safety functions: stopping the machine and reducing speed of the machine. Both are designed for safeguarding collaborative robot applications to protect people from mechanical hazards.
sBOT STOP – Safely Stopping the Machine
The sBOT Stop safety system combines the functions of a safety light curtain for access detection, a safety laser scanner for presence detection and to prevent unexpected restart of the robot, and a non-programmable Flexi Classic safety controller for implementing the safety logic. For this application, the safety light curtain is the primary protective device used and the laser scanner is the secondary protective device used.
With this combination, the safety system detects if a worker has entered the robot working area. With this, you’ll have the possibility to implement a manual restart or automatic restart once the person leaves the robot hazard area. It is also easily integrated into the most common robot controllers.
This system provides a number of benefits including:
- Open access and reliability – Collaborative robot applications are easily accessible by workers for higher productivity, less downtime, and optimal work processes. You can also rest easy knowing that the SICK sensors will maintain optimal safety levels for your manufacturing processes.
- Versatile Applications – SRAP works in a number of different applications and is even suitable for confined space applications, due to the short response time of the primary protective device, safety light curtains.
- Easy setup and detailed documentation – Just wire the safety devices, select the desired program on Flexi Classic, and your safety logic is ready to go. You can also adapt the protective field of the laser scanner to your environment. Detailed documentation ensures the robot integration is compliant with the relevant standards.
- Reduced costs and increased productivity – With easy integration into most of the common robot controllers, you’ll spend less getting the system up and running. Once installed, the system provides an increase in productivity with automatic restart capabilities.
sBOT SPEED – Safely Reducing Speed of the Machine
The sBOT Speed safety system combines the functions of a safety laser scanner for presence detection and robot speed reduction and a programmable Flexi Soft safety controller for implementing safety logic. For this application, the safety laser scanner is the primary protective device.
The system provides flexibility and safety with a freely accessible robot through the intelligent combination of a safety laser scanner and a Flexi Soft safety controller. The robot controller is easily integrated to communicate with the safety sensors to perform any of the following actions:
- Initiates robot speed reduction
- Activates safety-rated monitoring speed
- Triggers safe protective stop
- Triggers safe automatic restart
- Triggers robot speed
- Triggers emergency stop
SRAP is compatible with most common robot controllers and can be integrated as a single bundle or in combination with additional technical protective measures. The safety controller is expandable and programmable, making the integration of additional safety devices and other safe/not safe functions possible.
This system provides a number of benefits including:
- Unlimited and safe access – With continuous protection of the hazardous area, workers can freely move into the space to perform certain tasks, triggering the robot to slow down. Once out of the area, the robot will continue working.
- Reduced downtime and increased productivity – Automatic restart enables the robot to continue working once potential hazards are removed from the area.
- Increase in machine lifespan – Two-stage speed reduction and acceleration features allow you to increase the life of your robot.
- Easy integration of a future-proof system – Compatible with common industrial robot controllers, the SRAP is easy to expand for further developments. It is flexible and easily adaptable to each environment thanks to the safety laser scanner and controller.
- A reliable end-to-end safe solution – Your single-source provider for safe solutions are made of reliable safety components, pre-engineered and tested by SICK.
The Safe Robotics Area Protection system provides a number of benefits that aid in reducing downtime and increasing productivity. With the increase in collaborative robots, maybe it’s time to reevaluate how safe your processes are and see how you can help to improve.
Contact Barr-Thorp today to learn more about how a sBot solution could work for you!