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Safe in the robotic arms of Mitsubishi Electric

Safe in the robotic arms of Mitsubishi Electric

Collaborative and cooperative robotic solutions that work together with humans are on the rise, as they can support operators on the factory floor and enhance their output. Mitsubishi Electric has increased the availability of this technology significantly with the release of the MELFA SafePlus robot safety system. This latest option allows any of the over 160 MELFA FR-series intelligent industrial robot models to be converted into a co-operative system.

Key features of the SafePlus option include robot positioning and monitoring functions, as well as Blue Danube Robotics’ AIRSKIN cover, a pressure sensitive safety skin that further helps to reduce the robot’s force and stop it if a collision occurs.

As human-machine interactions continue to advance in sophistication and increase in popularity, robots need to be able to safely work alongside human operators in an uncaged environment. To achieve this, cooperative robots need to promptly detect any intrusion into their working area and adapt accordingly, either slowing down or stopping. The removal of safety guards contributes to maximising the factory space available and increases productivity for individual production cells.

The latest MELFA SafePlus solution offers a number of new features in order to make it safer, easier and more efficient when turning Mitsubishi Electric’s industrial robots into co-operative machines that do not need safety cages. The technology can be applied to both horizontal SCARA and vertical articulated arm robots used in a broad range of industries.

The MELFA SafePlus solution includes safety monitoring functions that allow the robot to adapt to different conditions. For example, robots implementing SafePlus can avoid certain operational areas when occupied by humans (Limited Range Control), stop (Safe Stop) or reduce their speed when human operators are in their vicinity (Reduced Speed Control) as soon as the area is clear, the robot can return to its normal high speed operation.

Further enhancements have increased the robots’ capabilities to safely operate close to humans and within other space constraints, MELFA SafePlus can now bring human-machine cooperation to a new level. As a result, the number of emergency stops is reduced and machine uptime is maximised, posi-tively affecting productivity.

The latest version of SafePlus features more than safety monitoring and collision detection functions, which are fundamental for co-operative operations. Safety logic editing, speed and positioning monitoring functions contribute to a higher safety perform-ance.

The position monitoring function not only controls the position of the robot but also external movements in up to eight designated areas around the machine. As a result, says Mitsubishi Electric, the robotic arm can adapt its behaviour in real-time on the basis of what is happening in its proximity. For example, the robot can reduce its speed, avoid moving towards the obstacle or stop.

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