The American National Standards Institute has approved a new national robot-safety standard, marking the first update to ANSI/RIA R15.06-2012 since 1999.
Developed by the Robotic Industries Association, the standard now is consistent with the International ISO 10218:2011 standard for robot manufacturers and integrators, according to the association.
"The adoption of the international standard allows systems designed and built in one country to be freely moved to other countries while maintaining compliance with safety regulations," the association said in a news release.
The updated standard also "introduces exciting new capabilities as a result of the ever-changing technical improvements," said Roberta Nelson Shea, chair of the RIA R15.06 subcommittee.
A key feature in the standard is "collaborative operation," which is the introduction of a worker to the loop of active interaction during automatic robot operation.
Systems now can be designed for the operator to directly load and unload the robot or manually drive the robot to a selected location, eliminating costly fixtures, according to the association.
The standard also addresses "safety-rated soft-axis and space-limiting" technology.
"This optional feature available on new robots may have different names depending on the robot manufacturer, but the functionality remains the same," the association explained.
"Safety-rated software is used to control the robot motion so that restricted space can be more flexibly designed. Case studies have shown that that this saves both floor space and cost in the system design."
The Robotic Industries Association said it will shift its efforts to providing guidance on using the updated standard. The association plans to issue technical reports on risk assessment and proper implementation of safeguarding robot systems, among other guidance.
The association also will deliver a presentation on the features and requirements of the new standard, at the upcoming National Robot Safety Conference in Indianapolis.