Robots Confront Safety Standards

An emerging crop of industrial robots promise to be user-friendly tools for novice users in a wide variety of small companies, but they might be held back by safety standards, experts say.

Rick Merritt, SiliconValley Bureau Chief, EE Times

October 1, 2014

1 Min Read

An army of user-friendly robots is headed for the factory floor, but it might have to climb over cumbersome safety regulations, according to two pioneers in the field speaking at a workshop Tuesday in San Jose, Calif.

"There's a big market for automating small companies," said Esben Ostergaard, chief technologist at Universal Robots, a Danish company now selling as many as 150 robots a month. Safety regulations that demand multi-page risk assessments and complex danger mitigation schemes threaten progress, he said.

He compared today's safety standards to an 1861 law in England that required all cars to have a person walk in front of them carrying a red flag.

"We can't have systems that are so safe they are useless," he said, noting existing and pending ISO standards. "Our take on safety is it's a moving target."

Read the rest of this article on EE|Times.

About the Author(s)

Rick Merritt

SiliconValley Bureau Chief, EE Times

Based in San Jose, Rick writes news and analysis about the electronics industry and the engineering profession for EE Times. He is the editor of the Android, Internet of Things, Wireless/Networking, and Medical Designlines. He joined EE Times in 1992 as a Hong Kong based reporter and has served as editor in chief of EE Times and OEM Magazine.

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