The Robotic Industries Association (RIA, Ann Arbor, MI) has introduced a new technical report that provides guidelines for implementing ANSI/RIA/ISO 10218-1-2007. The RIA R15.206 technical report explains how to implement and use next-generation robots that comply with the new international robot safety standard.

ANSI/RIA/ISO 10218-1-2007 is the adoption of the International Standard ISO 10218-1:2006 as an American National Standard. “This new standard provides safety guidance for the robot, but only the robot,” says Jeff Fryman, RIA’s director of standards development. “The current American National Standard for robot safety–ANSI/RIA R15.06-1999–covers not only the robot, but the complete robot system (installation), and talks to a variety of stakeholders including robot manufacturers, safety equipment manufacturers, integrators, installers and ultimately the users.”

The ISO standard only addresses to robot manufacturers and only covers provisions for the robot. The new ISO standard does not replace the R15.06 standard, but does provide a potential substitute for clause 4 – the robot – in R15.06. It also does not replace the other 13 clauses and 5 annexes of R15.06. In addition, the new ISO standard introduces some new optional features for robots that are not addressed in R15.06.

The RIA technical report provides guidance on how to implement substitute language and optional features within the current guidance for robot safety contained in the R15.06.

“Whereas the R15.06 covers the entire issue of robot safety, including the robot and the full system, the ISO committee responsible for the 10218 document chose to take a two-step approach–one for the robot and one for the system,” explains Fryman. “The first step is complete, and the second step is progressing well, but is not finished. ISO 10218-1, or Part 1, has been adopted as a harmonized standard in Europe, and also officially adopted as national standards in the United States and Japan. Other adoptions are pending.

“Since the Part 1 or robot-only portion of the standard embraced the key safety requirements contained in R15.06, the good news is that any robot produced anywhere in the world that is compliant with ISO 10218-1:2006 meets the minimum safety requirements of R15.06 and is suitable for use in this country,” adds Fryman. “That was not the case for the now-retired 1992 edition of the international standard.”

According to Fryman, the RIA-sponsored subcommittee responsible for producing the R15.06 safety standard in the United States has been closely monitoring the work of the international committee developing the ISO 10218 standard. He says the committee will not make any changes to R15.06 until the international work is complete, and that is still a year or more away.

“However, the timing difference of the release of the international Part 1 and Part 2 standards presents a problem to anyone wishing to use the new optional features allowed by the requirements in Part 1 for the robot manufacturer, since the integration, installation and use information will be covered in the not yet released Part 2,” Fryman points out. “These new and desirable optional features also are not covered in R15.06, so the committee decided that some of the information being prepared for Part 2 needs to be shared before it is published internationally. Thus, the new technical report was developed.”

There are many more similarities than differences between the ANSI/RIA/ISO 10218-1 and the ANSI/RIA R15.06-1999. The technical report has been limited to highlighting the subtle differences, both in terminology and in requirements. “It is intended to provide positive guidance and reassurance to integrators, installers and users that implementing new systems with new robots and new optional features will still comply with the requirements outlined in the R15.06 standard,” says Fryman. “If you are thinking about new systems, or simply upgrading an existing system, then you want to check out what is available in the way of safety and productivity enhancements with new robots now available which comply with the new national and international requirements.”

 To learn more about RIA TR R15.206-2008 and ANSI/RIA/ISO 10218-1-2007, click