Improve Automation System Safety with 4 Components | The Material Handling Blog

Improve Your Automation System Safety with These 4 Components

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In the automation world, safety is of the utmost importance.  Not only do industrial robotics and other automated material handling systems perform difficult tasks that keep personnel out of unsafe and ergonomically difficult conditions, but these same automation systems must be inherently safe for personnel to work around as well.  Bastian Robotics utilizes a variety of safety products to ensure the automation systems we design and manufacture are as fundamentally safe as possible.

Here are a few of the most critical safety components when automated material handling systems are in use.

Safety Fencing

At the top of the list of automation system safety components is safety fencing.  Safety fence prevents operators from accidentally reaching into the robots work envelope, and must be designed with operator safety and functionality in mind in order to allow for easy operator access to critical locations within the cell.

industrial robot safety fencing

Robot Software

Industrial robot manufacturers have developed software (Fanuc – Dual Check Safety, ABB – SafeMove) that allows Bastian Robotics to modify the robot’s work envelope. The ability to modify the envelope allows us to reduce the size of our robot cells and to safely bring the fencing in closer to the robot.  This also gives the operators easy access to interface with the robot using additional safety devices such as light curtains, area scanners, and safety mats.

Robotic safety solution from ABB

Light Curtains, Area Scanners, and Safety Mats

Light curtains allow pallets of product to safely enter the cell while the robot is working, but will stop the cell if a person tries to enter. In similar fashion, area scanners and safety mats can be programmed to stop or reduce the speed of the system if an operator is in the area.  If these components do not fit an end user’s needs, there are additional safety devices that can be implemented to suit each situation.

Light curtain used for automation system safety

Allen Bradley GuardLogix®

Bastian Robotics has standardized on the Allen Bradley Guard Logix PLC and safety control platform.  This technology allows Bastian Robotics to combine the robotic cell control with the safety controller to maximize functionality and minimize the overall system cost.

Allen Bradley software provides safety features

Lastly, with the demand for autonomous mobile robotics and collaborative robots (cobots)–including robots on AGVs, robots on rails, etc.–the proper utilization of the safety systems listed above will be imperative to make sure that these autonomous robots are able to move and work among humans in a safe and efficient way.

If you have questions about improving the safety of your automation system, please contact us.

As the Robotics Sales Manager at Bastian Robotics, I am lucky to work with a great group of people who are very dedicated. What I like most about my job is that I get to spend a lot of time at customer facilities, meeting people, understanding their processes, and helping them develop solutions to make them and their companies more successful.

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