FRANCE: A working group set up on collaborative robotics and its safety implications

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Collaborative robotics is characterized by the interaction, in a given work area, between a human operator and an automated robot system. Its development poses numerous technological challenges to ensure the safety of personnel working nearby.

France, like other countries, has raised questions about the integration of collaborative robots and risk management (crushing, impact, PSRs) for such personnel. In this context, the Ministry of Labour has set up a working group bringing together inspection authorities, the INRS, Eurogip, trade associations (FIM, SYMOP, COPREC), representatives of the industry (manufacturers and systems integrators), users, and a technical centre (CETIM). The potential implications concern both manufacturing users and the organizations in charge of integrating these robot systems; they are faced with problems which until then were unknown to them, requiring expertise in very sophisticated human detection technologies.

The working group has the task of drawing up a document which should give a reminder of the regulatory obligations incumbent on each of the economic operators involved. A proposed integration approach in order to help define the best solutions to be adopted based on the risk analysis is also under discussion.

The results of this work will be very definitely used as a basis for the revision of certain standards. Also note the publication, in February 2016, of the ISO/TS 15066 standard on “Robots and robotic devices – Collaborative robots”, and the drafting work in progress on the ISO 21260 standard on “Safety of Machinery – Mechanical safety data for physical contacts between moving machinery and people”.

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