Enhanced robot safety

Fanuc’s Dual Check Safety (DCS) technology features a safety scanner and safety camera to improve operator safety when working with robots. Robots can slow down as people approach the robot cell and come to a standstill when a hand moves into the cell itself.

In a typical food packaging application, involving a Fanuc LR Mate 200iD picking produce from different tubs and pots to create mixed retail trays, traditionally the cell is guarded on two sides and on the remaining two sides safety scanning technologies are employed from Rockwell Automation – an Allen-Bradley GuardMaster SC300 hand detection safety sensor and a SafeZone safety laser scanner. The scanner is set up on the cell to create two 1m wide corridors to approach the cell. When a person enters the corridor, to feed in produce or to remove a filled tray, the robot slows its operational speed. Fanuc regional sales manager John Rainer comments “If someone accidentally gets closer to the robot than they should, you don’t necessarily want it to stop automatically. Slowing down might be a more appropriate response: it helps to optimise productivity, but at the same time eliminates sudden stoppages at high speeds which could lead to vacuum gripped parts being dropped due to the high inertia”.

Only when a person puts a hand through the SC300 safety sensor will the robot stop. This vision-based protective device uses image processing technology to detect the intrusion of objects through its detection window. These two devices work in conjunction with DCS software-based safety options which monitor the robot’s position and speed, allowing safety zones to be quickly and easily designed.

Rainer concludes “Because the robot is only slowing down when an operator approaches, rather than stopping immediately, straight away there is a productivity gain. The result is an assured level of safety along with optimized productivity.”

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