Machinery Safety 101

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 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. A copy of the present­a­tion slides is also available.

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