As autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) and human workers spend more and more time working side by side, an industry group has released a safety standard for manufacturers and integrators that removes the risk from end users in manufacturing facilities, distribution and fulfillment centers, and warehouses, according to a session today at the ProMatDX trade show.
Until now there had been no regulation for these robots in live facilities, but the Robotic Industries Association (RIA) has now released ANSI R15.08, a safety standard specifically designed for AMRs in industrial environments.
Workplace injury is a common threat in warehouses due to human error in operating forklifts and other equipment, but robots can avoid many of those mistakes through technology like 360-degree sensors and other real-time automation, said Melonee Wise, the CEO of Fetch Robotics, an RIA board member, and a member of the R15.08 drafting subcommittee.
To increase safety levels, AMR vendors should now provide their customers with site surveys and users should perform risk assessments to identify hazards and operating restrictions in the specific environment where the robots will be used, she said.
That information can then be matched with the various definitions of robots according to the industry’s broad array of technologies, such as automated guided vehicles (AGVs) that follow guide paths, collaborative and industrial arms, personal care robots that operate around untrained people, and industrial mobile robots that can cruise among trained employees in warehouses and other environments, Wise said.