Currently, we are observing a huge development of Industry 4.0, specifically: an industrial revolution, where the integration of people and machines with the use of the Internet and information technologies is gaining importance.
Each day, we witness the progressing robotization or automation of various production stations. However, it should be remembered that people are still an indispensable binder connecting various stages of production. They usually supervise the entire process, and its safety has the highest priority.
Safety devices supervising human-robot cooperation
Safety devices supervising human-robot cooperation (Human-Robot Collaboration and Human-Robot Interaction) are becoming a particularly important aspect. In response to market demand, Unitem is developing the Thermosafety project. It is an intelligent safety system that facilitates human-machine cooperation, e.g. during hybrid assembly, where a human is supported by a robot arm.
The main task of our project is to develop a system, that ensures safety in the working area by using vision systems operating in various spectral ranges. The combination of these modalities will provide Thermosafety device with the ability to effectively detect a human in the working area of a robot or other industrial machine posing a potential danger to people in the vicinity.
The use of innovative technology of a vision system – Thermosafety
The technology developed as part of the Thermosafety project allows defining virtual curtains and security areas. In each case we will tailor them to the individual needs of users. Thermosafety will be dedicated to safety monitoring in a variety of work environments. For example, our system can be used in companies:
- having large production lines using robots or manipulators and requiring cooperation with humans;
- testing prototypes of different devices;
- using specialized machines with a complex production process, for which the use of standard safety curtains is impossible or very difficult;
- having large working machines with people near them.
The innovativeness of the Thermosafety safety system
The presented Thermosafety system enables full and safe cooperation with the robot. When comparing our solution to classic safety systems based on optical barriers, the following differences come to light:
- our safety system can distinguish humans from static and dynamic machines/objects. This functionality opens up many configuration options under different environmental conditions. Compared to standard security systems, it can be defined when the alarm should activate.
- the Thermosafety safety system allows to easily and quickly define various virtual safety zones (e.g. red – when crossed, the robot stops completely and the alarm system is activated, yellow – the robot slows down and the warning system is activated),
- the developed security system is modular. This means that the system can be expanded without the need for hardware and software changes. Changing the system settings is mainly associated with changes in software, such as changing or adding zones.
Development of the Thermosafety vision safety system
Currently, the Thermosafety system is under development. Nevertheless, already at this stage we are testing the prototype in laboratory conditions simulating the real production environment. Tests are designed according to standards, so as to facilitate the product’s safety certification in the future.