Changes in robot safety can be illustrated by the simple example of a doorstop in your home or office. Push the stop down and the door won’t move. Period. That’s how it has been with robots. Physical barriers kept them separate from people and shutting down the power was one way to stop them cold.
But what if doors could be programmed to stop or slow down so that a hard stop would be unnecessary while increasing the safety level? That’s the trend occurring in robotic manufacturing.
Software is making it possible to stop and limit every axes so a robot can maneuver around an obstruction. A robots’ motion can be closely monitored and limited. Fewer barriers also creates more usable space on a factory floor. In fact, software that can simulate an entire machining operation was introduced to the international market in early 2015 during the European Robotics Forum in Italy.
The presentation on COMET tracked a robot’s behavior and movements and alerted the operator to issues that could prevent successful completion of a task. The software was a 30-month project funded in part by the European Commission and its Factories of the Future program. The goal was to fund robot-based machining systems that would have greater reliability and flexibility and be more cost effective than machine tools.
Click here to learn about a key outcome of the project, and how the new software makes it as easy to program a robot for machining as it is to program a five-axis machine tool.