How to Perform a Risk Assessment for Collaborative Robots
Posted on May 07, 2018 7:00 AM
There's no doubt that collaborative robots have shaken up the industrial market, given their revolutionary ability to interact with human beings. But although these machines have taken safety requirements to a higher level, we can't overlook the need for a proper risk assessment.
Robotiq has a newly updated eBook on conducting risk assessments for collaborative robots. It outlines the four most important aspects of the process: document identification, general information about the robotic cell, machine assessment, and risk assessment. It also contains a section on attached documentation.
An overview of robotic risk assesments
We start off with a description of what document identification means, and why it's important to the process. The eBook tells us that a document is like the title block in an engineering drawing, and it provides an example for further clarification.
Regarding general information about the robotic cell, the goal is to define the "who, what, why and how." This eBook is lengthier than the previous one, in part because it features a more detailed explanation of the risk assessment document. For instance, it explains that project information should be listed in the first section of the document, and illustrates that notion with an example.
This brings us to the next topic – the assessment, and why it matters – which is followed by a segment on risk reduction. As the eBook explains, this is where one should detail the procedure and methodology to be used. Finally, the eBook explains the need for a final topic: the limits of the report. It reiterates the importance of remembering that any risk assessment has limits.
How to perform a risk assessment
The third section of the eBook dwells on machine assessment. It opens by noting that it will cover all the required information on robotic cells, potential hazards, and their solutions. The first topic to be covered in detail is the basic description of your machine, since it's important to get a clear overview of your robot’s intended use from the start. An example is provided to help the reader get a clearer picture of what to include.
Next is a subsection on describing the machine control system. The purpose here is to ensure complete understanding of the control method. This is followed by machine specifications, and then device specifications. Wondering why you have to record device details when you're supposed to be assessing the robot? As the eBook explains, grippers, end-effectors, and other accessories may have different specifications from the robot, so they must be included as well.
Another section is dedicated to risk estimation and evaluation criteria, with a focus on four variables: degree of possible harm, possibility of occurrence of a hazardous event, possibility of avoidance, and frequency of exposure. A hazard rating grid is also provided.
The eBook begins drawing to a close with sections on findings – one of the most important areas in the risk assessment document – and priority listing, which means ranking the identified hazards from most to least risky.
Near the end, the eBook discusses the conclusion of the risk assessment document, which is where a list of actions for reducing risk is provided. Finally, it concludes by recommending the inclusion of supporting documentation, references, and any assumptions made during the process.
Check out this exciting eBook here. Don't forget to share your thoughts or questions below!