Research and Development in Robotic Systems

Safe Human-Robot Cooperation with High Payload Robots

Safe Human-Robot Cooperation with High Payload Robots in Industrial Applications (SAPARO)

In the SAPARO experiment we propose an innovative and trendsetting solution for safeguarding collaborative human-robot workplaces with high payload robots through a combination of safeguarding technologies addressing both hard- and soft- safety considerations. This consists of a tactile floor with spatial resolution as a hard-safety sensor for workspace monitoring together with a projection system as a soft-safety component to visualize the boundaries of the safety zones. We further develop and implement algorithms and software to dynamically define the safety zones around the robot depending on its actual movements (not static, pre-defined safety zones), which will be safeguarded by the tactile floor and visualized for the worker by the projection system. The safety zone will be generated online according to the relevant guidelines in EN ISO 13855 and will be based on the current robot’s joint angles and velocities any time. Feasibility and constraints according to the relevant safety standards EN ISO 10218-1 and -2 and EN ISO 13855 will be demonstrated.

In contrast to current fenceless safeguarding technologies such as laser scanners and camera-based workspace monitoring, which have static safety zones, our proposed dynamic safety zones will offer a maximum of free space around the robot. Furthermore, the proposed system will allow both co-existence as well as a certain degree of collaboration between humans and robots, and acts as a baseline technology for eventual use with other systems to allow for a deeper level of collaboration with force limiting approach. Ultimately the system will have a large economic impact, through offering higher flexibility and closer human-robot cooperation for industrially-relevant applications with high payload robots.

© Fraunhofer IFF
Visualization of safety areas by projectors: free area (green), warn area (yellow) and critical area (red). Violation detection of safety areas by pressure sensitive floor.
© Fraunhofer IFF
Interactive buttons to control the process, start/ stop robot movement or manage tasks.

The project partners Pilz GmbH & Co. KG and Fraunhofer IFF are leading institutions in safety and human-robot cooperation with trendsetting developments and technologies and wide experience in this field.

ECHORD++ is a European-funded project under framework 7 (grant agreement no. 601116) that aims at increasing the interaction between European robot manufacturers, researches and end users.