Product Code: ICAL08_207

Manufacturing Engineering: Practical Laser Safety for Industrial Robots and High Powered Lasers
Thomas Lieb, L*A*I International; Elk Grove CA USA
Presented at ICALEO 2008

Whether in the lab or the manufacturing floor there are several hazards associated with laser end-effectors which are manipulated by robots (5-axis motion systems). Some of these hazards, are, of course more obvious. But there are also risks which may be more subtle, yet not unheard of. Robot software, although improving, is still subject to going berserk. Containment systems, unless properly designed, can exacerbate as many problems as they are intended to mitigate. Recent use of high powered Fiber Lasers, capable of utilizing very long focal lengths, present another element, which was much less of a concern, previously. During the last few decades, safety control measures and guidelines have been developed, such as ANSI Z 136 and IEC 60825. FDA has issued Laser Policy Notices (including one pertaining to Walk-in laser workstations). Additionally the robot industry has fostered the development of ANSI/RIA R15.06 for Industrial Robots and Robot Systems Safety Requirements. All these regulations and guidelines can seem complex and forbidding, but there are some practical solutions to implementing a safe work envelope for the robot guided laser beam.

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