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

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.

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


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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