With Rise of Industrial Sex Robots, New ANSI Standards are in Development

Nothing has aroused interest more than the introduction of industrial sex robots to the factory floor. And with this new class of robot, the need for updated safety standards has arisen.

Established safety standards such as ANSI/RIA R15.06 Robot Safety Standard for Industrial Robots and Robot System Requirements, published by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Robotic Industries Association (RIA), provide for methods of guarding workers from contacting industrial robots while in operation. But this new class of industrial sex robots are collaborative robots, or “cobots”, and are designed for close contact and physical interaction with its human operators, thus posing a challenge for worker safety.

ANSI/RIA R15.06-2012 and TR 606, which is globally harmonized with ISO/TS 15066:2016, does address collaborative robots and clarifies four types of collaboration. These collaboration types would apply to industrial sex robot cells. A collaborative application could include one or more of the following categories.

Safety-rated monitored stop: Operator may interact with robot system when it is stopped (drive power may be ON). Automatic operation resumes when the human leaves the collaborative work space.

Hand-guiding operation: Operator in direct contact with the robot system, using hand controls.

Speed and separation monitoring: Robot/hazard speed is reduced the closer an operator is to the hazard. Protective stop is issued before contact.

Power and force limiting: Incidental contact between robot and person will not result in harm to person. Requires a risk assessment per each body region. Applications where worse case may be only a slight injury.

As industrial sex robots come to the plant floor, revised standards are needed to provide guidance on maximum allowable speeds and minimum protective distances, along with a formula for establishing the protective separation distance and data to verify threshold limit values for power and force limiting to prevent pain or discomfort on the part of the operator.

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