Robotics and Automation continue to become an essential part of various industries. From assembling cars to packaging goods to sorting mail – robots are everywhere. And while they have revolutionized the way manufacturers operate, they can pose significant risks to human workers. Ensuring robot safety should be of paramount concern for all employers. Here we will explore the importance of robot safeguarding, the different types of safeguards available, and how they can help protect your workforce.
Robot safeguarding involves assessing and installing physical barriers that protect workers from injury caused by robots. It is essential to conduct such an assessment even before the installation of the robot. This assessment helps ensure that safeguards exist in areas that pose significant risks to workers. The primary goal of safeguarding is to meet the CSA standard Z434, which lays out regulations around the safeguarding of robots.
There are various kinds of safeguarding methods and equipment available today, and each has its unique benefits. These include perimeter fencing, light curtains, area scanners, door switches, trap key systems, pressure mats, two-hand control, and safe speed monitoring. Perimeter fencing involves erecting barriers around the robot’s work area to keep workers a safe distance away. Light curtains use infrared beams to detect objects and stop machines from working if the beams are broken. Similarly, area scanners map out the perimeter around the robot, and the machine shuts down if the scanning determines a worker has entered the area.
Door switches block off the robot’s work area entirely once the doors are closed, while trap key systems require workers to use a key to release doors and gain access to the machine. Pressure mats work in much the same way as light curtains, except they detect pressure instead of broken beams. Two-hand control requires both hands to operate the machine, in essence, forcing the worker to take responsibility for their safety. Finally, safe speed monitoring regulates the robot’s speed, reducing the risk of harm should it collide with a worker.
It’s equally important to have functional guarding that allows for optimal production while still ensuring worker safety. Guards should prevent access to hazardous areas and moving parts while being easy to remove when maintenance work is required. Warnings and signs are also essential, as they communicate the potential hazards involved.
In conclusion, robot safety is crucial in today’s manufacturing industries. Employers have a moral and legal responsibility to create a safe working environment by providing and maintaining safe working conditions. This responsibility should not be taken lightly, especially when it comes to robots that can cause severe harm if safeguards are not in place. Using the right safeguarding methods and equipment will ensure that production continues at optimal levels without compromising the safety and well-being of your workforce. For all your robot safety and safeguarding needs Contact Us Today BP Automation. We provide risk assessments and safeguarding measures.