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

Last updated on August 26th, 2022 at 10:59 am

Material Handling Robot at work

If 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 groundbreaker in its 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.

Adoption of ISO 10218-1

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.

ISO Update

Ed. Note 2022-08-26: Update — ISO 10218-2:2011, Robots and robotic devices — Safety requirements for industrial robots — Part 2: Robot systems and integration, covers all aspects of robot integration with other machinery to create a work cell. ISO/TR 15066:2016, Robots and robotic devices — Collaborative robots, addresses some of the aspects unique to the integration of collaborative robots (“cobots”). New editions of of both parts of the standard are expected to be published by the end of 2022. The new standards will include the content of ISO/TR 15066. Also note that the technical work on “safe” forces that can be applied to the human body have also been leveraged in a general safety of machinery standard, ISO/TR 21260, Safety of machinery — Mechanical safety data for physical contacts between moving machinery or moving parts of machinery and persons. This standard is scheduled for completion in 2023.

CSA Z434 update

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 simply reaffirm the existing standard and consider adopting the ISO standards in another five years.

Ed. Note 2022-08-26: Update — The CSA Z434 technical committee followed suit with ANSI and adopted both parts of ISO 10218 into CSA Z434-2014. The technical committee anticipates updating the standard by adopting the new ISO 10218 standards as soon as they are published. I would expect to see the process take 18 months, resulting in publication of a new edition of CSA Z434 in 2024.


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

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