The Know-Hows of a Cobot Risk Assessment.

11/02/2022


Collaborative robots or cobots are part of the future of manufacturing. It's ability to work with its human counterparts helps increase overall productivity in any manufacturing capacity. As a result of technological advancements made every day mean that safety standards will be growing at the same rate. Thus posing the question as to how is it possible to accommodate safety measures of today? In this article, an explanation to why it is necessary to perform a proper risk assessment.


So what is it?


A cobot risk assessment is an important part in the cobot purchasing journey. Detailed risk assessments will identify potential hazards associated with the cobot task. It is important to determine what is most likely for each task and hazard pairing.

Hence performing a cobot risk assessment is the most important step. This ensures not only effective cobot safety but general manufacturing floor safety.


Performing a risk assessment identifies:

  • Hazardous circumstances could be encountered whilst performing set tasks including foreseeable misuse.
  • Levels of risk for that set function.
  • Potential risk reduction measures that can be implemented.


Hence how does one make a cobot as safe as possible? This does not imply that collaborative robots are dangerous. Employing a cobot requires a risk assessment to be performed.


Which requirement does it fulfil?


This is in regards to the technical specifications, TS 15066, set by the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). One of the four safety measures must meet the desired requirements as stated by the specifications. This list includes:


  • Hand guiding.
  • Power and force limiting.
  • Safety-rated monitored stop.
  • Speed and separation monitoring.


Furthermore, it is important to also understand the concept of a safe collaborative workspace.

This is an area where collaborative robots would operate and perform tasks. This includes any tooling or additional equipment, with their human counterparts during production works.


Who should conduct the assessment?


There are two options when performing the cobot risk assessment, for instance, a consultant or an in-floor team. There are considerable benefits and drawbacks of either choice.


Consultant:


Benefits:

  • Considered an expert in identifying hazards, applying necessary risks reduction methods and adhering to appropriate safety standards.
  • Reduces the amount of in house manpower resources.

Drawbacks:

  • Limited operational knowledge on floor plans and current manufacturing floor safety issues.
  • Struggle to apply prior amendments after cobot function change.
In-floor team:


Benefits:

  • Awareness of current tasks, risks and hazards
  • Team consensus offers the optimal operational solution.

Drawbacks:

  • Requires in house manpower resources.

What happens after?


After a risk assessment has been carried out with appropriate amendments, and relevant implementations, it is key to monitor safety performance. It consists of monitoring:

  • Accident rates
  • Utilisation
  • Ability to maintain safety measures.

With this in mind, appropriate changes can be made.


Conclusion


Henceforth, executing an effective risk assessment with the appropriate safety measures embedded will ensure a successful cobot application. Therefore boosting overall manufacturing performance.



To learn more about cobots at
Qviro.com.


Updated 05/05/2022