Before deploying robots, you need to ensure that they can operate safely. This is necessary in order to comply with laws and regulations. It is something that you should also do in order to make sure that your employees work in a safe environment.
There are different approaches that you can take to guarantee safety and minimize damage due to accidents in your plant. Most people opt for setting up security features like installing safety railings, raised platforms, cordoned off spaces, security doors, and other hardware that is designed to limit safety risks. While these solutions work, they have drawbacks. In fact, in most cases, opting for a software-based solution makes more sense. Here are the reasons why you should consider relying on robot software to solve your safety concerns.
If you are using several robots, implementing a physical solution will be harder to scale. For example, if it is safety railings that you have to install around the robots, you will need to do so on every robot. This is a tedious process that is bound to consume a lot of time.
However, if you opt for a software-based solution, implementing any updates to your safety measures or protocols can be nothing more than a simple click. The measures will then be deployed to all the selected robots in an instant. Therefore, whether it is a matter of enhanced motion tracking or speed monitoring, all the relevant robots will get these updates in an instant. You won’t have to waste time applying every fix to individual robots, and the process will also cost less, in terms of scaling costs, when compared to physical safety measures.
Better use of space
When you decide to improve the operational safety of robots by using physical safety measures, you will have to dedicate more space to the structures needed. This is because things like safety railings, building safety zones, and any other safety hardware, take up space.
For most small businesses, space is a resource that is limited. Any of these solutions will only end up making this resource even scarcer. In fact, the limited availability of space can even compromise the effectiveness of these measures. As a result, for such businesses, a software-based approach is recommended as it helps to preserve floor space.
Sometimes, changing your floor layout or flow of production is necessary in order to increase productivity. If this need arises, and you have to move any robots that you are already using, you may also have to dismantle and then rebuild any safety structures around them. This is something that reduces your flexibility as far as the layout of the flow of production is concerned since you will always have to consider the cost of these changes when making your decision.
Software-based safety features do not come with the same limitations. Making changes on the floor is easier since there is no need for installing or uninstalling structures. Furthermore, if there are updates that need to be made, they can be done in an instant.
Physical structures take a longer time to plan for and to build. In order to do a proper install of these safety structures or hardware, you may even have to do a shutdown as the process might interfere with various production tasks. This is something that you do not have to worry about when you are dealing with a safety solution that is software-based. All you have to do is decide any settings changes or safety features that you want to implement, and then start experiencing the changes almost immediately.
It is important to keep in mind that while software-based safety solutions are incredibly effective, there are times when they are not enough. Some jurisdictions have defined safety regulations that you may need to comply with. In such cases, installing physical safety structures in addition to a good software solution is the best option.