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Safety Strategy for Human–Robot Collaboration: Design and Development in Cellular Manufacturing

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Abstract:

Our research aims to design and develop a safety strategy for a human–robot collaboration system. Although robotic assistance in a cellular manufacturing system is promising, safety is the uppermost consideration before it can be materialized. Five main safety designs are developed in this work. (i) Safe working areas for humans and robots. (ii) To control the behavior of the robot based on the collaboration requirements, light curtains defined safe collaborative working zones. (iii) Additionally, the robot system was developed using safe mechanical design and Dual Check Safety control strategies in terms of robot speed and travel area to minimize collaboration risks. (iv) A vision system using IP cameras was developed to monitor operator safety conditions by measuring the body posture and position of the operator. (v) The operation control system coordinated the collaborative flow between the operator and robot system. Apart from these developments, risk assessments were conducted to evaluate the safety design of the system, and a mental safety study was performed to investigate robot motion speed and working distance on the operator's physiological effects. Our findings demonstrate the feasibility of the prototype system to safely perform assembly operations.

Keywords: CELLULAR MANUFACTURING; HUMAN–ROBOT COLLABORATION; SAFETY

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/016918610X493633

Affiliations: 1: Department of Precision Engineering, School of Engineering, University of Tokyo Room 821, Building 14, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan;, Email: jeffrey@robot.t.u-tokyo.ac.jp 2: Department of Precision Engineering, School of Engineering, University of Tokyo Room 821, Building 14, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8656, Japan

Publication date: 2010-04-01

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