How to Stay Compliant with Emergency and Protective Stop Standards for Industrial Robots

March 25, 2024 by
How to Stay Compliant with Emergency and Protective Stop Standards for Industrial Robots
Kurtin Robotics, Karan Khatter

Keeping your workplace safe while using industrial robots is all about understanding and implementing emergency and protective stops. Let's go through a helpful guide on how to ensure everything is up to standard!

Emergency Stop Functions

It's always important to have an emergency stop in place to quickly halt robot operations in case of any issues. Here's how you can ensure compliance:

  1. Ensure Compliance with IEC 60204-1:
    • Verify that all emergency stop functions meet IEC 60204-1 standards.
  2. Install Manual Emergency Stop Buttons:
    • Equip every control station capable of initiating robot motion with a manual emergency stop button.
  3. Prioritize the Emergency Stop:
    • Ensure the emergency stop takes precedence over all other controls, stopping all hazards, cutting off power to the robot's motors, and controlling any dangers the robot manages.
  4. Maintain Active Stops Until Reset:
    • Ensure that the emergency stop remains active until manually reset, and that resetting does not automatically restart the robot but only permits a safe restart.
  5. Ensure Continuous Functionality:
    • Make sure the emergency stop output continues to function even if the robot loses power. If not, it should generate an emergency stop signal.

Actionable Steps:

  • Accessibility: Install emergency stop buttons in easily accessible locations.
  • Regular Checks: Frequently check that the emergency stops comply with safety standards.
  • Training: Train your team on how to manually reset the emergency stop without causing an unintended restart.

Protective Stop Functions

Protective stops are like the robot's safety net, working alongside external devices to ensure a secure halt. To keep things up to code, just follow these simple steps:

  1. Integrate with External Devices:
    • Ensure that protective stops can be activated manually or by control logic, often in response to signals from external safety devices.
  2. Compliance and Performance:
    • Make sure the protective stop functions meet the same performance requirements as emergency stops.
  3. Implement Stop Categories:
    • At least one protective stop should be a category 0 or 1 stop, which stops the robot immediately. Additional protective stops can be category 2, which monitors standstill conditions without cutting power.
  4. Monitor for Unexpected Movements:
    • If the robot moves unexpectedly during a monitored standstill, ensure an immediate stop (category 0) is triggered.
  5. Manufacturer Information:
    • Check that the manufacturer provides details about the stop category for every protective stop circuit input.

Actionable Steps:

  • Integration: Connect protective stop functions with other safety devices.
  • Standards Verification: Ensure at least one stop complies with immediate stop (category 0 or 1) standards.
  • Testing: Regularly test the stops to make sure they work as expected.
  • Manufacturer Details: Review the manufacturer’s information on protective stop circuits for proper implementation.

By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your workplace is compliant with safety standards, keeping your team safe and your robots under control. 

For a deeper dive, check out the IEC 60204-1 standards and ISO 10218-1:2011 guidelines!