Prioritizing Safety While Deploying Mobile Robots

A summary from the Robotics Business Review article, “Safety First – Ensuring Mobile Robots Will Not Pose a Risk to Workers.”

Robots have come a very long way since Unimate – the first industrial robot deployed by General Motors in the 1960’s. Advances in software, cameras, sensors and more have created the innovative category of collaborative robots – or cobots – and made it possible for these machines to work in close proximity with people. Autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) are fast becoming a critical piece of automation in warehouse and manufacturing operations – able to navigate intelligently, performing highly repetitive tasks and reducing the burden of travelling miles on a shift on workers. In these hybrid environments, safety comes first.

In the U.S., the ANSI/RIA R15.08 safety standard for mobile robots, released by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Robotic Industries Association (RIA) in 2020, sets safety guidelines for AMRs, giving buyers a good starting point for evaluating these machines within the context of their environments. In Robotics Business Review, Melonee Wise, Vice President of Robotics Automation at Zebra Technologies writes about these safety standards, what customers should look for from AMR vendors in terms of safety features, the role of education and the importance of cultivating trust as a key to safety.

Article highlights

  • The safety standards for mobile robots and what they mean for buyers and makers.
  • The differences between Autonomous Guided Vehicles (AGVs) and AMRs and how those differences relate to safety.
  • Three things to understand before you buy:
    • Is your environment suitable for AMRs?
    • What obstacles exist in your environment and how does the solution you are evaluating address those obstacles?
    • What plans/programs can you develop to educate line associates on how to work with AMRs.
  • The importance of cultivating trust as a characteristic of the human-robot collaboration and how to do that.

“ …it is important to properly train and engage with workers about their new robot co-workers to help ensure everyone stays safe while working closely together.”

Melonee Wise, Vice President of Robotics Automation at Zebra Technologies

Read the full article here.

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