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

+DougNix is Managing Director and Principal Consultant at Compliance InSight Consulting, Inc. ( in Kitchener, Ontario, and is Lead Author and Managing 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.

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