Safety Instructions

General Safety Instructions

This page contains general safety instructions and information that applies to all Neobotix robots.

Note

Depending on the chosen options and customisation of your robot additional safety instructions may apply. Please also check the documentation of the actual robot model that you are working on to ensure a safe and trouble free operation.

The mobile robot (in all varieties and models based on it) is an autonomous vehicle that is not only capable of performing very different tasks but can also react dynamically to its environment. Under some circumstances this might result in situations in which the robot’s behaviour appears to be surprising or incomprehensible to persons who do not know the robot in detail.

Because of this it is essential that all of the following safety instructions are followed at all times. A safe and efficient operation of the robot can only be achieved under this condition.

Emissions

All the components and sensors used in Neobotix robots are safe to use and do not emit any dangerous radiation.

  • The laser scanners are devices of laser safety class 1 or 1M.
  • The ultrasonic sensors are safe for both humans and animals.
  • None of the electronic devices and components will heat up to a dangerous degree.

Briefing

Due to the complexity of the robot system it is strongly recommended to attend a training. This online documentation is only provided as a work of reference when facing minor or common problems. All other problems, mistakes and difficulties can best be avoided by an in-depth training for programmers and a proper briefing for operators.

Attention

Always make yourself familiar with the robot, its control and behaviour before starting your work or setting up autonomous processes. Every other concerned person (e. g. workers, programmers, visitors etc.) should also be briefed accordingly.

Safety System

The mobile robot is equipped with several safety features. Additional features can be installed if necessary. Before starting to work with the robot a risk assessment may be required to determine whether the present safety features provide a sufficient level of safety.

Warning

Some of the safety features, especially the laser scanner, might have been reduced or even disabled in order to make transport to the customer’s site possible or more convenient. These features must be set up and tested by a qualified technician prior to the first operation of the robot system!

Emergency Stop Buttons

As soon as one of the emergency stop buttons is pressed, all drives are immediately disconnected from power and the safety brakes of all motors (if equipped) are engaged.

Additional information on the emergency stop buttons and the reset procedure can be found in the specific documentation of your robot model.

Laser Scanners

The safety approved laser scanners can monitor user-defined safety fields in front of or around the robot which are dynamically activated according to the current velocity of the platform. If required these fields can also be activated by an application specific control software. In this case only the control software is responsible for the correct activation of the safety fields according to the current condition

Note

Please note that in omnidirectional robots the safety fields can only be activated by software and not depending on the robot’s speed.

As soon as a person or obstacle is detected within the currently active safety field the robot is immediately set to emergency stop. The stop will be reset automatically after the field has been cleared. No manual reset is required in this case.

The laser scanners have been approved as safety device with Performance Level d and SIL2. They fully replace the mechanical safety bumpers which have been required for autonomous vehicles in their early days.

Special Functions

In case third-party software is meant to run on the robot or on the remote control computer this software can be enabled to trigger an emergency stop and or to reset the safety system. Additional safety devices can also be integrated into the mobile robot.

Please contact Neobotix if you plan to implement any special functions.

Cooperating with the Robot

Close Proximity

As long as the robot is not in full emergency stop, a minimum distance should always be kept. Direct contact to the active robot system is to be avoided.

Warning

Climbing up onto the mobile platform and / or riding on it are not allowed at any time.

Medium Proximity

When approaching the robot or working in its presence, increased attention and caution are required. The safety features of the mobile robot have to be set at such a level that imminent dangers can be detected and that injuries or damages can be avoided.

In case the safety features have to be reduced due to the requirements of the process it might be necessary to prohibit the presence of people in the robot’s surrounding. In these cases only the owner of the robot system can be held responsible for the safe operation.

General Surrounding

As long as the safety features of the mobile robot are set up properly, the presence of people and vehicles in the robot’s wider working area is allowed. Please contact Neobotix for further advice if needed.

All people working in the same area as the robot should nevertheless be informed about the robot’s behaviour and the possible dangers. Appropriate behaviour and consideration are necessary.

Bringing into Service

After installing the mobile robot and also after making changes to the environment or the work processes a supervised test-run has to be performed. This test has to cover all possible steps of the process. Autonomous operation must not be resumed without a successful test-run.

This also applies to modifications of routes and target positions, parameters, environmental conditions and higher level control systems.

Repairs, maintenance work and other changes in the system’s hardware should also be followed by a test-run.

Note

The Neobotix GmbH cannot be held responsible in any way for injuries or damages which are caused by any problem that could have been detected or prevented by a supervised test-run.

Modification of the System

If you intend to perform any kind of mechanical, electrical or software modification and feel unsure about the process, please contact Neobotix. Some detailed information or instruction might be necessary.

In case one or more robots are to be modified, it is strongly recommended to consult Neobotix in order to provide the appropriate training and information for all technicians and programmers. The functions and safety of all modified robots have to be checked and ensured before bringing them into service.

Attention

All warranties are void in case of any unauthorised or improper modification of the mobile robot system. All responsibilities for the further operation of the robot are devolved to whoever commands or executes such modifications.

Expected Misuse

Passenger Transportation

Danger

Transporting passengers on or by the mobile robot is dangerous and strictly prohibited. The Neobotix GmbH cannot be held responsible for any injuries and / or damages caused to or by transporting passengers with the mobile robot.

Safety Fields

The laser scanners’ safety fields must be configured and tested by the operator prior to taking the robot into service. If more than one safety field are to be used they need to be dynamically activated according to the current state and intended action of the robot.

Warning

The operator takes full responsibility for the safe activation of the safety fields. Safety fields that are set up incorrectly or have been activated faultily will result in an unsafe and possibly dangerous operation of the mobile robot.

Working Area

When choosing and preparing the working area special care has to be taken to ensure both a reliable localisation and motion control. The robot must never be operated in areas where there are staircases leading down, elevated platforms or other possibilities for falling or dropping down.

The localisation system of the mobile robot requires clearly visible landmarks and a high quality map of the surrounding. Further information on this topic can be found in the documentation of the used software. Please contact Neobotix in case of any problems.

The motion control system of the mobile robot will only work reliably on an even ground and without slippage. Dirt like dust, sand, oil or water may cause the wheels to slip and the robot to move uncontrolled. This might even result in a loss of localisation which might make the robot leave the predefined path and enter prohibited or dangerous areas.

Danger

The robot must never be operated in areas where it might fall down staircases, loading ramps or similar.

Mechanical Overload

The defined maximum payload must not be exceeded. Overloading the robot may lead to reduced life expectancy of the drives and to damages to the robot. It might also affect the driving properties, resulting in unwanted movements and might even cause the robot to leave the predefined paths.

Electrical Overload

The robot’s on-board power supply must not be overloaded. Extreme overload may lead to overheating, damages to the electrical installation and to short circuiting.

Please contact Neobotix before modifying the electrical system of the mobile robot.

Modifications

The robot must always be turned off and disconnected from all power sources before any modification is carried out. Working on the robot while it is connected to a power source or turned on results in the risk of electrical shock to the worker and damages to the robot.

Note

Additional information on maintenance and hardware modifications can be found at Maintenance.

Configuring the Safety Fields

To achieve both high agility and a safe operation, the safety fields of the laser scanners must be configured and activated according to the intended motion. Prior to the first operation the safety fields have to be defined with consideration of the application’s requirements, the working environment and the desired speed. If the safety fields are to be actively selected instead of being automatically activated, the wiring may need to be changed and a routine to select and activate the safety fields has to be implemented in the control software.

Warning

At delivery a set of safety field is defined which will avoid collisions in most situations. These settings must be tested and, if necessary, be adjusted prior to the first operation. Otherwise the required level of safety cannot be guaranteed.

The configuration and diagnostics software CDS from Sick can be used to conveniently configure the scanners’ safety fields. The configuration cable that was included in delivery can be used to connect the scanners to the serial port of any external computer running the CDS.

Note

The Sick default password is SICKSAFE.