Home>Automation>Automated handling>Paranoid about androids?
Home>Warehouse IT>Hardware>Paranoid about androids?
Home>Industry Sector>Manufacturing>Paranoid about androids?

Paranoid about androids?

17 January 2019

The ability for robots and people to work in closer proximity holds the promise of ever-more flexible production in automated manufacture. But, while identifying more cooperative human robot applications may be easy, integrating simple safety solutions is more challenging.

SICK has responded with the SICK Safe Robotics Area Protection, enabling unrestricted safe access to fenceless robots. 

The SICK Safe Robotics Area Protection solution is suited to machine builders and for production teams looking to boost the productivity of their existing robots or automate new processes such as machine tending, pick and place assembly and materials loading and unloading. 

SICK Safe Robotics Area Protection satisfies Performance Level PLd/SIL2 in accordance with EN ISO 13849-1/EN62061. The robot standards EN ISO 10218-1 and EN ISO 10218-2 state that safety-related parts of control systems should be designed so that they achieve PLd/SIL2 unless the results of the risk assessment determine otherwise.

The turnkey solution integrates a SICK safety laser scanner with a SICK Flexi Soft controller to enable dynamic protection of the monitored area. The result is unrestricted access to the robot, for example to allow someone to inspect the operation of the robot or machinery, or to insert or remove workpieces.

How it works

The monitored area is configured with two field sets, each with a non-safe warning field and a safety-rated protective field. The field sets are programmed to be selected dynamically, so that the robot can be slowed to a safe speed as a person enters the warning field and approaches the robot but can still be stopped safely when the protective field is infringed. 

If the risk assessment allows it, when the person leaves the hazardous area, sequence monitoring can be implemented, so that the robot is first started up at a reduced speed and then returns to its original working speed once all the warning and protective fields are free.

Awareness and action

For practical solutions to common safety problems, check out the Safer Logistics Zone at the Health & Safety Event, which takes place from April 9-11 at the NEC in Birmingham. Toyota Material Handling UK is the sponsor of Safer Logistics.

The seminar programme includes presentations on:

Driver Health: Asking the awkward questions

HGV drivers can face sleep, fatigue, drug, and alcohol problems among a wide range of driver health issues. This presentation gives managers the tools to develop a proactive approach to tackling the problem.

Andrew Drewary, road risk consultant, the Logistics Safety Forum of The Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport (CILT)

The importance of taking responsibility for lifting equipment maintenance

The recent collapse of a crane at Falmouth docks was not a one-off, says the Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA). It shows the absolute necessity of implementing a strict maintenance regime for all logistics and industrial cranes and lifting equipment. Here, LEEA illustrates the importance of monitoring crane design working periods.

Ricardo German, Technical Assistant, The Lifting Equipment Engineers Association (LEEA)

Rack safety - can you afford to risk everything? 

Cutting corners on rack safety can cost millions, a life, or your freedom.

Jonathan Bennett, chair SEMA Distributor Group, and Simon King, ex-chair of SEMA Distributor Group

Forklift accidents: 10 common causes, 1 recurring theme

Stuart Taylor breaks down ten common causes of forklift accidents and reveals the theme that links them all. You’ll be given practical tips that can be easily applied on your site to significantly reduce the risk of accidents at a relatively low cost, keeping you compliant while retaining profitability.

Stuart Taylor, managing director of Mentor Training, on behalf of the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA)

Forklift training myths – are you wasting money?

RTITB discusses the common forklift training myths many employers are making which could be costing them money in unnecessary training. The discussion will identify where employers are wasting money on unnecessary operator training and explore when forklift training is essential to ensure that delegates leave with methods to achieve safety, compliance and reduced costs in their business.

Laura Nelson, Managing Director, RTITB


Toyota Material Handling UK is the sponsor of Safer Logistics.

As a result of this dynamic field switching, stop times are reduced and the operator’s work flow is uninterrupted. However, the worker is still fully protected against hazardous movements in proximity of the robot’s working range. Minimising stops also reduces machinery wear, leading to less maintenance and improving the total cost of ownership. 

Redeploy robots

Seb Strutt, SICK UK’s senior product manager for machinery safety said: “SICK Safe Robotics Area Protection lays the foundations for industrial robots to be more productive and is comprehensively tested as a single-source solution.  By supplying with factory configured and tested software function blocks, SICK enables the system to be integrated with all standard industrial robots.

“The opportunity to redeploy robots around the factory demands an adaptable system. So, the Safe Robotic Area Protection system adapts to new working situations and takes account of non-safe automation and safety-related functions being carried out simultaneously.

“If other safety devices are added, or additional safety functions become necessary during operation, these can be easily integrated.”

The SICK Safe Robotics Area Protection Package comprises either a SICK microScan3 core with 5.5m radius fields for larger areas, or a S300 mini remote for 3m radius fields, with a SICK Flexi Soft modular controller.  

The Safe Robotics Area Protection package is available as a single bundle for integration with most existing industrial robot controllers. In addition, the Flexi Soft controller is expandable and programmable to allow the integration of additional devices. This could be further safety laser scanners for additional robot applications, or other safety devices such as safety light curtains, emergency stops or Interlocks for other safety applications.