What are the most important changes?

The new robotics standard ISO 10218

  • Automation
  • Robotics
  • News
Our KEBA robotics experts Markus Winter and Christian Leng reveal what the long-awaited update of the ISO 10218 robot standard will bring, what the most important changes are and what measures can be taken now.

The update of the robotics standard ISO 10218 is eagerly awaited. Markus Winter (Product Management Safety) and Christian Leng (Product Expert Safety) from KEBA Industrial Automation explain in an interview what machine and robot manufacturers can expect from the new robotics standard and why an update has long been necessary:

Who is affected by the standard?

Markus Winter: Like its predecessor, the standard is divided into two parts, namely 10218-1 and 10218-2. ISO 10218-1, i.e. the first part, deals with the robot as an incomplete machine and primarily affects manufacturers of industrial robots and cobots.

The second part, 10218-2, deals with complete machines and systems with integrated robots. It applies to all those who integrate industrial robots into a complete solution, such as machine manufacturers or system integrators.

(f.l.) Christian Leng (Product Expert Safety) and Markus Winter (Produkt Management Safety)
(f.l.) Christian Leng (Product Expert Safety) and Markus Winter (Produkt Management Safety)

Why was it necessary to update the standard? What was missing? What is better/different now?

Christian Leng: ISO 10218-1 and ISO 10218-2 were published in 2012. An update followed in 2016 with the currently available part of the cobot specifications (ISO/TS 15066). Since then, the use of industrial robots has almost doubled: almost 3.5 million are in use today. An update and adaptation was therefore definitely necessary and also foreseeable. In recent years, further market requirements have been added in relation to cyber security and collaborative robotics.

Markus Winter: Current threats and related issues such as the EU Cybersecurity Act and the US government's stance on critical infrastructure (e.g. mobile communications and energy supply) have an impact on 10218-1. The threat of a cybersecurity attack also affects medium-sized and smaller machine and robot manufacturers - especially when you consider or take into account the current life cycle of many robotics solutions. We will certainly see many more changes in the market over the next few years.

What are the main contents and changes that robot and machine manufacturers with process expertise will have to deal with?

Markus Winter: In addition to many minor adjustments, the following significant changes should be highlighted:

  • Integration of ISO/TS 15066:2016 - especially in ISO 10218-2 (keyword: collaborative operation between humans and robots)

  • Classification of robots into two classes with regard to the functional safety requirements

  • Clarification of the requirements for functional safety

  • Cybersecurity (new)

Which innovation in the standard has struck you as particularly positive?

Christian Leng: The handling of speeds in manual operating mode with reduced speed (also known as manual reduced speed mode, T1 or teach) has been significantly clarified. For example, it now states that the speed of Class II robots must be safely monitored in this operating mode.

Markus Winter: We also particularly welcome the clarification of the required safety functions in the new Annex C. This provides all those affected with a precise list and description of which standards are mandatory or only optional and how they must be structured. This simply creates clarity.

I also find the expansion of the minimum functional safety requirements exciting:

Old revision

  • PLd / Cat3

New revision

  • PLd / Cat3 or

  • SIL2 / HFT=1 (20 years) or

  • SIL2 / PFHd < 4,43 *10^-7

(Editor's note): The values stated refer to the functional safety performance according to the standards EN ISO 13849-1 and EN IEC 62061. While the functional safety in EN ISO 13849-1 is specified in different performance levels (PL) and categories (Cat), in EN IEC 62061 it is the Safety Integrity Level (SIL) and the Hardware Fault Tolerance (HFT). The PFHd value is the probability of a dangerous failure per hour (Probability of a Dangerous Failure per Hour).

Why is it important to extend the minimum functional safety requirements?

Markus Winter: The current version for functional safety requires a PLd in category 3 architecture in accordance with DIN ISO 13849-1. In the new version, category 3 architecture is no longer a mandatory requirement with a sufficiently low PFHd. This leads to the question: "Will there also be single-channel safety solutions in robotics in the future?"

Christian Leng: And this raises the next question: Will there be single-channel solutions in other industries in the future? Because a second point is that in areas where no type C standard is available (e.g. ISO 10218-1/2 is a type C standard), industry-specific standards are often used.

The safe monitoring of speed has often been a topic of discussion. Now it is definitely in the currently available constitution. What solution does KEBA Industrial Automation have for this?

Markus Winter: Safe motion monitoring has always been one of KEBA's core areas of expertise, especially when it comes to monitoring Cartesian speeds, positions and orientations, as is the case in robotics and with different encoder technologies.

Does the standard also affect companies outside Europe?

Markus Winter: It is a type C standard according to EN ISO 12100 and it is in line with the minimum requirements of a harmonized type C standard for robots in industrial environments. Other countries can also adopt the requirements of the standard in nationally relevant standards. As the third largest single market, the European Union is of course also of interest to many companies outside the EU. So even if the requirements of the standard have not been adopted into national standards, many companies are still motivated to implement them. Otherwise, the sales market in the EU would be completely lost.

Christian Leng: Apart from that, the ISO standards are co-designed by many non-EU member states, so it is also in the interest of the respective states to implement these standards.

How long will it take for the regulations to be implemented?

Christian Leng: First of all, the harmonization of standards in Europe will be announced in the Official Journal of the European Union. This also determines the date from which the standard can be applied and thus conformity with the requirements is possible. As many terms are derived from the new Machinery Regulation, it can be assumed that the standard will come into force at the same time as the EU Machinery Regulation, i.e. on January 20, 2027.

What should those who are affected by this do now?

Markus Winter: The requirements for functional safety and cybersecurity in particular should not be underestimated. Development times of several years, including certification by an accredited body, are not unusual. Robot manufacturers and integrators are recommended to deal with this topic as soon as the FDIS (Final Draft International Standard) is published.

What approaches/solutions are generally available on the market?

Christian Leng: For medium-sized and small robot suppliers, developing their own safety solution or continuous maintenance with regard to cybersecurity will not be feasible. I think that many will inevitably have to turn to service providers and/or platform suppliers. The large robot manufacturers will certainly be able (or have to) solve these issues themselves.

In which areas does KEBA offer a solution? What does this look like?

Markus Winter: Our portfolio of functional safety modules and features is constantly growing, and here we also have our focus on solutions for robotics and injection molding technology. In addition, with our automation platform Kemro X, we solve many of our customers' challenges and concerns in advance, such as cybersecurity, industrial-grade hardware, customizable technology options and delivery capability. This allows them to focus on their core competencies and technologies.

Background information on the committee:

The technical committee ISO/TC 299 "Robotics" of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is responsible for standardization activities in robotics at international level and currently comprises ten different working groups. Working Group 3/WG 3 "Industrial safety" is responsible for the safety standardization of industrial robots and is working on the new versions of ISO 10218-1/2, among other things. With regard to ISO/TC 299, there are national mirror committees in the participating countries, whereby the mirror committee for ISO/TC 299 WG3 in Germany at national level is the working group NA 060-38-01-01 AK of the DIN Mechanical Engineering Standards Committee (NAM). These national working groups are made up of representatives of manufacturers, users, employers' liability insurance associations and other stakeholders as experts in the respective field.

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