What Are the A3 Robotics Safety Standards?
There are millions of robots operating around the world today, most of them being found in the manufacturing industry. What’s more, the number is constantly growing as more and more manufacturers and production plants are adopting robotics to boost efficiency and optimize processes, all while reducing risk to workers.
In other words, it’s a new world out there, and an exciting time to be a part of the manufacturing workforce.
Of course, robots are machines, often very large ones. All machines come with their own operational risks and hazards, and robots are no different. As these machines become increasingly more complex, more capable, and more commonly used, the need for a standardized set of safety guidelines grows as well.
That’s where A3 (Association for Advancing Automation) comes in. Formerly known as the RIA, or The Robotic Industries Association, they’ve compiled the U.S. National Standard R15.06 on Safety Requirements for Industrial Robots and Industrial Robot Systems. This is more commonly known as the “Industrial Robot Safety Standard,” and it’s the guiding document for robotics safety standards today in North America.
What is the Association for Advancing Automation (A3)?
A3, or the Association for Advancing Automation, is the result of 4 organizations dedicated to the advancement of robotics and automation converging to form a single entity that sets the standard for things like safety in robotics. Separately, these organizations were the RIA, the AIA (AIA-Advancing Vision + Imaging), the MCMA (Motion Control and Motors Association, and A3 Mexico.
According to A3, the advancement of these technologies eventually caused them to converge, and that called for a combined organization to oversee their applications.
As it stands now, A3 is the largest automation trade association in North America, representing more than 1100 organizations involved in robotics, machine vision and imaging, motion control and motors, and artificial intelligence.
Officially, the association’s mission is to “promote automation technologies and ideas that transform the way business is done.” So essentially they’re sort of ambassadors that spread the news of the numerous benefits of automation and why it should be used in manufacturing and other industries.
The way they accomplish this mission is by sponsoring trade shows and other networking events, collecting industry statistics and generating market research, providing certification programs, hosting webinars and podcasts, and a lot more.
Most importantly, perhaps, A3 owns and maintains a living document known as the Global Robotic Standards.
The Global Robotic Standards
In addition to their own safety standards and those that exist on a state-by-state basis, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has adopted the Global Robotic Standards originally created by A3 as an officially recommended set of safety guidelines for operating robots and automation in the workplace.
The standards provide a massive comprehensive list of safety guidelines and recommendations for everything from the manufacture and integration of industrial robots and robot systems to functional safety requirements for a variety of situations and requirements for things like perimeter guards dimensions.
In essence, it’s one of the most comprehensive safety documents for today’s robotics industry, and it’s a living document that continues to evolve and grow alongside the technology it oversees.
It’s an understatement to say that the Global Robotic Standards have become an essential component of safety training on any modern manufacturing floor that utilizes robots and automation.
The Need for Safety in a Growing Industry
Like we mentioned earlier, robots are a relatively new technology that are only going to continue to advance and become more common in industries around the world. As new advancements emerge, the need for adapted guidelines for being safe when working with, around, or installing and maintaining those new technologies emerge alongside them.
Another need that is continually growing alongside robotics technology is the requirement for trained workers to install and operate those robots and automation systems.
That’s where we come in.
A3 is the leading trade organization, and ARM is the leading national consortium. Together, we share a mission to tell people that an exciting career in robotics is more attainable than they might think. Specifically, we work to connect those who have an interest in mechanical technology and machinery with the most convenient training and educational programs to get them into the role of their dreams.
If you’re somebody who’s interested in the world of robotics and working with cutting-edge technological wonders on a daily basis, go to the RoboticsCareer.org homepage and search your area for programs to get you on your way. Sometimes the future is just a click away.