How Safety Can Make Your Cobot Work Harder and Safer for You

July 10, 2023

How Safety Can Make Your Cobot Work Harder and Safer for You

Collaborative robots, or Cobots for short, can greatly enhance productivity and employee satisfaction by taking over dull, reparative, and dirty tasks that humans would rather not perform. Because these robots are designed to work safely around people, many manufacturers are under the impression that no further safety measures are needed. 

This is a misconception, however. Appropriate safety measures based on comprehensive risk assessments are still very important. In fact, safety is crucial to unlocking your cobot’s full range of capabilities and maximizing its performance, as we’ll explain in this blog post.

Learn more about cobots and how they’re going to revolutionize a variety of industries in Episode 16 of Omron’s Operation Automation podcast

Wait — but don’t cobots already have safety measures built in?

It’s true that cobots come equipped with numerous safety features including a lightweight frame, collision detection technology, and minimized pinch points. However, these don’t necessarily account for elements that will be added for the purpose of a specific application, such as the type of gripper or end effector and any other equipment being used nearby.

The cobot’s internal safety programming is based upon the length of the robotic arm only when it has no additional elements. Since grippers and end effectors extend the length of the arm, and yet the cobot’s software is unaware of this added length, the built-in safety measures might not be sufficient.

Going beyond these concerns, however, one of the main reasons to add safety to your collaborative workspace — i.e., the area around the cobot in which a human might also be working — is that it allows you to get your cobot running faster when humans aren’t present.

Unlocking your cobot’s full potential with a layer of safety

Without safety, cobots have a maximum allowable speed in any application where a human might enter the collaborative workspace at any time (even if it’s just for a few minutes per day). This maximum speed of 250 millimeters per second per axis is mandated by the RIA TS 15066 standard.

For many applications, this speed is not very fast, and it’s a far cry from the cobot’s maximum possible speed based purely on axis capability. Given that the cobot could be moving much faster when people aren’t around, it sure seems like a waste to keep it going at such a slow rate if the collaborative workspace will be human-free most of the time.

Fortunately, there’s a way to get a much better return on investment for your cobot, and that’s by adding safety measures to the collaborative workspace. If you equip the area with a safety scanner, you can let the cobot know when humans are present or absent, and it will alter its speed accordingly. This dramatically expands its usability.

How a cobot safety scanner system works

A safety scanner uses a laser to scan a designated area and detect whether a person is nearby. Because safety scanners can determine distances, you can set them up with a warning zone in addition to an active trip zone. In the warning zone, you can have the cobot cut its speed down by 1/3, whereas in the trip zone it can go down to 250mm/s/axis or stop altogether.

More Information

Interested in learning more about collaborative robot safety?

Download the White Paper: Collaborative Robot Safety


Related Story

Omron’s Robotic Solutions: Thousands of Possibilities

Robots can improve the productivity of many industries and processes. They can handle a variety of tasks, such as laborious or repetitive work, and can dramatically improve processes in industries such as machine tending, assembly, packaging, and other manufacturing activities. Moreover, they can handle routine operations, allowing employees to perform higher-value tasks.

This article will look at a selection of Omron’s robots and robotic solutions, such as autonomous robots and collaborative robots, and will explore how these products can be integrated into facilities to improve productivity. It also discusses the next evolution in factory automation: MoMa’s, or Mobile Manipulators – the growing trend of having collaborative robots mounted onto AMRs to achieve new levels of automation.

Related Articles

Latest Articles

  • Guide to Synchronous Serial Interface (SSI) in Industrial Applications

    Guide to Synchronous Serial Interface (SSI) in Industrial Applications

    April 15, 2024 Synchronous Serial Interface (SSI) technology is a cornerstone in the realm of digital communication, particularly for conveying position and speed feedback from encoders in both rotary and linear forms. Known for its precision and resilience to noise interference, SSI plays a pivotal role in applications demanding high accuracy, such as in CNC… Read More…

  • Omron’ Advanced Safety Services 101

    Omron Offers Advanced Safety Services – What You May Not Know Yet April 10, 2024 In any industrial setting, safety is of the utmost importance. Omron Offers Advanced Safety Services to help you and your staff navigate the challenges of complex industry standards and compliance regulations. They also can provide machine safety technology to protect… Read More…

Featured Article

Revolutionizing Material Movement with Autonomous Mobile Robots

Revolutionizing Material Movement with Autonomous Mobile Robots

In today’s fast-paced manufacturing and logistics industries, the need for efficient and flexible material movement solutions has never been greater. Traditional methods like conveyor systems, forklifts, and manual pushcarts have served us well, but they come with limitations.

That’s why Omron is thrilled to announce the launch of their game-changing MD Series of Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs). Read more


  • MDA Space Awarded $250m Contract Extension to Support Robotics Operations on the International Space Station

    April 18, 2024 Engineering and operations services contract extension includes new scope for MDA Space to provide robotics flight controllers MDA Space (TSX:MDA), a trusted mission partner to the rapidly expanding global space industry, today announced it has received a $250 million contract extension from the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) to continue supporting robotics operations… Read More…

  • Introducing SEW-Eurodrive’s QR Codes

    April 18, 2024 Access product support in a flash Scan QR Codes even while your Drives are Running. To continually improve efficiency in SEW-Eurodrive’s products and how they deliver their services, they are pleased to introduce their QR code Product Support and Specifications App. Starting this year, each new SEW-Eurodrive Product leaving assembly will be… Read More…