When it comes to automation technologies, robots always draw the most interest and attention. This happens for two reasons: 1) robots are fascinating to watch in action; 2) robots are helping to address real-world labor issues that are, in some cases, crippling production operations.
Amid this fascination with robot kinetics and the labor issues they’re helping to resolve, one issue that isn’t always adequately addressed is robot safety. Even with ever-safer robot technologies emerging via the growth of collaborative robots and technologies that can make industrial robots collaborative, robots are still moving equipment that require safety assessments the same as any other automated machinery.
To raise awareness of this issue, Festo Didactic and Sick have created a safety awareness training package that focuses on robot risk assessments and related safety implementations. This package includes a Festo Didactic Manufacturing Production system and a simulated smart factory featuring a six-axis robot, Sick area scanners, a safety PLC, and a safety relay.
Though this safety awareness training package has been established in several community colleges and universities across the country, its use is not limited to students. Workers in industry can also sign up for the safety awareness course to upskill their robotics knowledge.
Beyond helping students and workers understand the importance of risk assessments, the training course is also helping them understand what to do with the digital data captured in the process. The curriculum features a six-step method around robotics and automation equipment safety to ensure students understand risk assessments, safe design, technical protective measures, administrative information about residual risks, and machine validation and deployment.
Festo and Sick designed the curriculum to be robot agnostic so that it can be used by all robot manufacturers.