Can You Add Automation Without Enclosures?

A new line of robot arms offers the possibility to safely function alongside personnel with no safety guarding.


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IMTS 2012 saw the U.S. introduction of Universal Robots’ line of lightweight, six-axis robot arms for machine tending and other automated applications. Perhaps this equipment’s most distinguishing feature is that it often doesn’t require the enclosures that typical robotic loading applications do. Because the robot arms are compliant with the ISO 10218 safety standard for industrial robots, they can safely function alongside personnel with no safety guarding in many cases. If an employee was to contact the robot arm exerting a force of only 150 Newtons, the robot arm would automatically stop operating. (The arm measures electrical current in its joints to determine force and movement, rather than more costly sensor technology.) That said, all companies must carry out a risk assessment of their specific applications, considering how the arms are installed, what gripping tools are used and so on to determine if enclosures are needed.

Click here to learn more and see a video of one of the arms in action.