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A revised framework for managing the complexity of contact hazards in collaborative robotics

: Behrens, R.; Elkmann, N.


Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers -IEEE-; IEEE Robotics and Automation Society:
IEEE International Conference on Intelligence and Safety for Robotics, ISR 2021 : 4-6 March 2021, Nagoya, Japan, Online
Piscataway, NJ: IEEE, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-6654-3862-9
ISBN: 978-1-6654-1148-6
International Conference on Intelligence and Safety for Robotics (ISR) <2021, Online>
Fraunhofer IFF ()

Power and force limiting (PFL) of ISO/TS 15066 sets the requirements to operate collaborative robots safely in close proximity to humans. Robots in PFL mode may not exceed biomechanical limits during accidental contact with humans to protect them from serious injury. A growing number of robot users are coming to realize that the framework behind PFL is too strict, ultimately constraining robot efficiency in collaborative applications. For instance, the framework does not provide any options for factoring the consequences of contact hazards and their probability of occurrence into the risk assessment. This paper proposes a revision of the PFL framework. Based on the findings of a literature survey, we introduce the new severity S0, which eliminates any form of injury in collaborative robotics. Instead of taking the onset of pain as the sole tolerable stress level, S0 defines three sublevels of tolerable stress that additionally correspond to different levels of risk. Each sublevel of stress is related to separate limits for two fields of application and two differently composed groups of people. The framework includes a structure for organizing limits, which is based on research findings and incorporates the most relevant load factors of accidental human-robot contacts, which govern their intensity and effects on the human body.