Drives and Controls Magazine
Scanner brings safety to unprotected robots
Published:  18 December, 2015

On its stand at the recent SPS IPC Drives exhibition in Germany, Mitsubishi Electric was demonstrating a robot safety system that it is developing with a German integrator, MH Elektro-Steuerungstechnick, that will allow humans and robots to work together safely during batch production processes.

A safety scanner built into the base of the Melfa S robot detects movement in two defined zones. If someone (or something) enters the first zone, Mitsubishi’s Melfa SafePlus safety system slows the robot down. If they move into the second zone, the robot stops. This will allow operators to work safely near a robot without needing a protective cage.

The system includes two other safety mechanisms. It monitors the position of four reference points on the robot arm to ensure that none of them move beyond a defined area. Also, the torque in the robot’s joints is monitored and used to control the speed and movement of the arm. If limit values are exceeded, the robot stops automatically.

The Mitsubishi/MH robot safety demonstration at SPS