Robots – the friendly colleagues

Man and machine work hand in hand with the help of TÜV SÜD

The technical development of humanoid robots is still in its infancy.
Photo: TÜV SÜD

People still need to do many things themselves…
Photo: TÜV SÜD

… so that the humanoids will be able to grip simple things independently.
Photo: TÜV SÜD

Robots as personal household assistants are still a vision of the future. However, a mechanical colleague made of steel is giving people a hand in industrial production –TÜV SÜD in Japan certified the CR-35i as a safe “colleague.”

The simple designation CR-35i likely doesn’t do the friendly team player justice. Because the new colleague from Japan shows a great deal of sensitivity and its considerate attention has become a talking point. The CR-35i works like no other robot and does not injure its human colleagues in process. 

Employees can come into close contact with the CR-35i 

Previously a safety fence separated industrial robots from their human colleagues in Japanese factories. Operators could not work right next to the robots – and certainly not with them. The danger that a robotic arm could injure someone was too great. With the CR-35i, employees can now come into close contact. The green mechanical colleague is equipped with sensors for that purpose. If it comes in contact with a person, the robot shuts down immediately. 

Collaborative robots can be used for heavy work. The CR-35i, developed by Japanese company FANUK, has a payload of up to 35 kg. Being able to work safely hand-in-hand with robots takes the burden off employees and improves efficiency in the production process. The father of the FANUC Group’s gentle robots had his baby tested and certified by TÜV SÜD in Japan this year. The international standard for functional safety requires the performance of a risk assessment and qualitative safety analysis by a neutral testing body.

Like the CR-35i, the standard is applicable in many industries – whether for rail traffic, automation, the auto industry, medicinal products and the elevator industry.

The CS-35i will get more siblings. FANUC wants to mass produce the sensitive steel employees someday soon.

Robots as tacticians on the soccer pitch

Collaborative robotics will remain a topic for TÜV SÜD in the future. How would it be if FC Bayern’s or Real Madrid’s tactics could be programmed into smart robots? With some support, training on the pitch with mechanical soccer players will soon be possible. The Segways play like real players: They evade, cover zones, and defend. Like their colleagues in the production halls, the soccer robots need to pay attention to fairness. They have to maintain safety distances to the players. TÜV SÜD is currently studying how such a complex system of networked sensors can be certified.

Humanoid robots are still in the lab

There is still a great deal of research to do in the area of robotics. Deploying robots in everyday life is still far in the future. None of the “humanoids,” as robots with human appearance are called, have achieved market readiness. The mechanical assistants are still stuck in the lab with their scientists.