Holistic safety in fenceless robotics

Here at AIRSKIN, as the experts in fenceless robotics, we believe in the future of open and flexible production layouts that allow high-volume outputs. And we mean high outputs not despite the absence of fences but exactly because of the unhindered free flow of goods through production. This demands fenceless production cells and fenceless robots that can keep up with the necessary cycle times without losing their safe operation.

Making this a reality requires not only technical solutions to ensure the robot safety while achieving short cycle times but addressing general worker safety and comfort in every aspect – without sacrificing productivity. And this is what we do all day, every day and have done so for almost a decade now.

Understanding of application processes & robot safety

The combined understanding of application processes and robot safety makes us experts in fenceless robot applications at AIRSKIN. Every application is different, every tool is different, and every customer’s needs are different. The general safety requirements, of course, stay the same, but each application poses new challenges. Therefore we work closely with customers to not only meet requirements but create the best solution possible, which always means the shortest cycle times possible while keeping the application open and comfortable to operate.

The process of creating such ideal applications starts with looking at the flow of the goods at the customer’s site and the process that should be automized (palletizing, visual inspection, bin picking, etc.).

This includes the workpieces, the end of arm tooling, cycle times, and the intended interactions with workers, to name the most prominent aspects. This quickly leads to a go/no-go decision, whether it is advantageous to automate the process in question and whether fenceless operation creates an advantage for all groups involved (owner, safety manager, production manager, workers). Often small changes in, e.g., fixtures or robot paths can make a big difference regarding potential hazards. We help customers design their applications to eliminate risks early on where possible and mitigate remaining risks using AIRSKIN technology, possibly in combination with other safety components.

Ensuring holistic safety from design to the start of production

We accompany our customers from design, prototyping, commissioning, and risk assessment up to the start of production. And not only in safety questions but in overall application design and construction of end-of-arm toolings and fixtures. To ensure the best possible outcome, it is paramount to regard fenceless safety as one ingredient next to the others (design, construction, manufacturing, testing) that is part of the application design from the start. We call this holistic safety, and to achieve this, we include safety experts in every project from the start.

Recently we further strengthened our team’s safety expertise with Pilz CMSE® trainingover 10% of our workforce are now TÜV Nord Certified Machinery Safety Experts, with more to come. We see this as a necessary step to ensure the best possible solutions for our customers, which means the highest speeds, highest possible flexibility, smallest application footprint and, of course, the highest possible safety.

In the end, the best applications create happy operators, and in combination with a high output, this creates happy customers. And AIRSKIN aims to create happy customers all around the globe.