Do you use industrial robots? ANSI adopts ISO 10218–1 and changes the game

Material Handling Robot at workIf you are an indus­tri­al robot user or inte­gra­tor work­ing in North Amer­i­ca, you know RIA’s ven­er­a­ble robot stan­dard, RIA R15.06. This stan­dard was a ground break­er in it’s day, advanc­ing the safe use of robot­ic tech­nol­o­gy in thou­sands of work­places in the US and Cana­da. CSA adopt­ed R15.06 and pub­lished it, with a few changes, as CSA Z434, pro­vid­ing near-har­mo­niza­tion in the US and Cana­di­an mar­kets.

These two stan­dards brought the first inklings of risk assess­ment and con­trol reli­a­bil­i­ty require­ments to North Amer­i­can equip­ment design­ers and inte­gra­tors and broke new ground.

The last revi­sion of R15.06 was pub­lished in 1999, and the last edi­tion of Z434 was in 2003. In 2007, RIA made the bold move to begin har­mo­niza­tion with the inter­na­tion­al world by adopt­ing ISO 10218–1, Robots for Indus­tri­al Envi­ron­ment – Safe­ty Require­ments Part 1 – Robot. This stan­dard effec­tive­ly replaces Sec­tion 4 of R15.06, cov­er­ing the design require­ments for the robot itself, leav­ing the safe­ty require­ments for the rest of the work cell to the exist­ing R15.06–1999. This stan­dard brings some tru­ly excit­ing capa­bil­i­ties to robot users, includ­ing:

  • Wire­less Teach Pen­dants
  • Syn­chro­nized mul­ti­ple robots
  • Col­lab­o­ra­tive robot­ic appli­ca­tions and
  • Pro­gram­ma­ble safe­ty con­trollers for enve­lope lim­i­ta­tion.

When ISO pub­lish­es ISO 10218–2 in 2010 the rest of the cell safe­ty require­ments should be cov­ered in that doc­u­ment.

CSA is cur­rent­ly review­ing CSA Z434 — they may choose to adopt ISO 10218–1 and (even­tu­al­ly) ISO 10218–2 once it is pub­lished, or they may choose to sim­ply reaf­firm the exist­ing stan­dard and con­sid­er adopt­ing the ISO stan­dards in anoth­er 5 years.

Need to know more? I pre­sent­ed a webi­nar on this stan­dard on 19-Nov-09 through my friends at Pil­grim Soft­ware. The record­ed webi­nar can be down­loaded here. A copy of the pre­sen­ta­tion slides is also avail­able.

Watch the webi­nar (you’ll need Apple’s Quick­Time play­er or a view­er that can play .mov files):
Are You Ready for the Com­ing Changes in Robot Safe­ty Stan­dards?

Author: Doug Nix

Doug Nix is Managing Director and Principal Consultant at Compliance InSight Consulting, Inc. ( in Kitchener, Ontario, and is Lead Author and Senior Editor of the Machinery Safety 101 blog. Doug's work includes teaching machinery risk assessment techniques privately and through Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Kitchener, Ontario, as well as providing technical services and training programs to clients related to risk assessment, industrial machinery safety, safety-related control system integration and reliability, laser safety and regulatory conformity. For more see Doug's LinkedIn profile.