Understanding Industry Best Practices, Guidelines, and Ethics for Collaborative and Industrial Robots

Business » INDUSTRY | July 25, 2022, Monday // 12:00
Bulgaria: Understanding Industry Best Practices, Guidelines, and Ethics for Collaborative and Industrial Robots https://www.universal-robots.com/

Many people think about the robotic arm or humanoid robot at the mention of robotics. However, robotics is extensive, with applications in nearly every essential domain such as defense, aerospace, medical, automotive, space, and industrial. 

A large percentage of these applications are mission or safety-critical. As a result, both manufacturers and users should consider the security and safety of these robots to protect humans from injury and businesses from losses. 

Robots are categorized according to their application types. For example, there are service robots and industrial robots. Service robots often assist human beings in the household, educational, and defense fields, while industrial robots are used in manufacturing and logistics. Read on for more insights on industrial robots. 

Industrial Robots

Industrial robots are used in industrial automation to facilitate automatic rotation, movement, and control around different axes. These robots can be fixed or mobile. An example, in this case, would be serial manipulators and hand-guided robots. The collaborative robot is an improved version of industrial robots. They interact with humans and operate alongside them through end effectors. 

Importance of Software Standards

The robotics industry has been evolving tremendously. So, manufacturers and users must learn from past mistakes, seeing that robots failed following power disruption, mechanical failure, environmental factors, and software problems. Project managers must establish strategies to avoid robot failure to protect humans from injury.

Sometimes robotic failure occurs due to avoidable errors like failure to countercheck the allocated memory range in the object constructor. Still, some software problems are rare, even though some studies suggest that software is more susceptible to failure than hardware.

Developers should consider numerous security and safety issues to build reliable software. For instance, they must adhere to the laid down industry standards, which allow them to uphold best practices and avert bugs when writing robotics software. 

Security and Safety Standards for Collaborative and Industrial Robots

Various standards for multiple applications determine the security and safety of robotics. 

The safety standard for personal care robots is ISO 13482:2014, while the standard for industrial robots is ISO 10218:2011. The safety standard for collaborative robots is ISO/TS 15066:2016. Regarding security standards, IEC 62443 remains one of the most critical standards every developer must follow. 

Collaborative robots are designed to work in the same environment as humans. As a result, their safety is essential because a slight malfunction can trigger severe injuries. In 2019, an Omnipure Filter Company employee suffered severe burns after entering a robotic arm's cycling area.

Following industry guidelines and best practices when developing appliances that collaborate with humans goes a long way in avoiding such incidences. Here are details of the ISO/TS 15066:2016 and ISO 10218:2011 that govern the development of excellent standards for the robotics field. 

ISO 10218:2011

It comprises industrial robot requirements, while ISO 10218-2:2011 comprises industrial robot system essentials and regulating hazards. 

It focuses on:

  • Hazard recognition and protective standards

  • Verification of safety needs and protective standards

  • Design requirements and protective standards

ISO/TS 15066:20165

It provides guidelines to facilitate the design and implementation of a collaborative working area. Doing so protects humans from harm should an accident occur. When a robot conforms to these requirements and adheres to the ISO/TS 15066, a company may not require separate working areas for robots and humans. 

This standard focuses on:

  • Industrial collaborative robot design

  • Verification

  • Collaborative robot system application requirements

Additional Security and Safety Standards for Robotics

  • ISO 9283:1998 regulates the performance ethics and associated test strategies for manipulating industrial robots.

  • IEC 61508 covers the functional safety of programmable, electronic, or electrical safety-based systems.

  • ISO 9787:2013 coordinates the motion nomenclatures and systems of robotic devices and robots.

  • ISO 9409:2004 regulates the mechanical interfaces of manipulating industrial robots

  • ISO 9946:1999 focuses on the presentation of the display of characteristics in manipulating industrial robots. 

  • ISO 10218:2011 regulates the safety requirements for industrial robotic devices and robots. 

  • ISO 11593:1996 regulates the automatic end effector exchange systems or manipulating industrial robots. 

  • ISO/TR 13309:1995 regulates the informative guide on metrology methods and test equipment of application for robot performance analysis based on ISO 9283. 

  • ISO 14539:2000 regulates object operation with grasping grippers for manipulating industrial robots.

  • ISO 13482:2014 focuses on the safety needs of personal care robots.

  • ISO/TS 15066:2016 focuses on collaborative robotic devices and robots.

  • ISO 19649:2017 regulates mobile robots

  • ISO 18646:2016 regulates the performance strategy and associated test methods for service robots.

  • ISO/TR 20218:2018 focuses on the safety structure for industrial robot systems

  • ISO/TR 23482-:2020 is an application of ISO 13482 

  • ISO 22166:2021 regulates modularity for service robots

  • IEC 62443 focuses on IT security for systems and industrial communication networks

Coding Standards

For mission-crucial and safety applications, robotic manufacturers and users must follow practical safety standards like IEC 61508 for industrial systems. According to these standards, developers must stick to a safe programming subgroup like MISRA C, based on the criticality level.

MISRA C is a language subgroup of the C programming language and is also known as a coding standard. The Motor Industry Software Reliability Association develops and regulates this language subgroup. MISRA is structured to encourage using the C programming language in safety-analytic applications. It offers crucial aid to organizations seeking to avert problems that come with the deliberate or accidental misuse of the C language. Other coding standards include BARR-C and SEI CERT C,

Industry Best Practices

Developers can develop confidence in the security and safety of robotic applications by adopting the following best practices. 

  • Enhancing crucial infrastructure cybersecurity

  • Knowing the regulations for building safety-critical code

  • Mastering best practices for secure coding

  • Learning Microsoft's security development life cycle

  • Knowing how to avoid software security design defects

  • Understanding risky software weaknesses

  • Mastering the art of lowering software vulnerabilities


Working on security and safety is crucial for the successful operation of collaboration and industrial robots. While there is no single solution for managing security and safety matters, this article's industry best practices and standards are crucial for developing reliable robotic systems. Manufacturers and developers in the robotic sector should incorporate security and safety in robotics development and system design.

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