Collaborative robotics is when automatically operated robot systems share the same workspace with humans. It therefore refers to a system or application rather than a particular type or brand of robot. Industrial robots do not include an ”end effector”, that is, the device at the end of a robotic arm that interacts with the environment while a robot system does.
Industrial robot systems are usually separated from humans to protect people from injury. However, with new technology advancements, there is growing potential to safely bring the power and precision of robots closer together with the creative and problem-solving ability of humans. This could dramatically increase productivity.
Roberta Nelson Shea, Convenor of the ISO Industrial Robot Safety Working Group (ISO/TC 299/WG 3), explains,
”When working on the standards for safety of industrial robots (ISO 10218-1 and ISO 10218-2), a philosophical discussion arose. If an application will not hurt and injure a human, why not allow contact? As a result, ISO 10218 discusses four techniques for collaborative operation. Work on ISO/TS 15066 started with the idea that, if there were to be any incidental contact between human and machine, it shall not result in pain or injury.”