How Machine Guarding Keeps Robots and Your Employees Safe


Workplace automation carried out by industrial robots is becoming increasingly commonplace in the manufacturing world. As these exciting innovations begin to alter the workplace landscape, it’s important to install protective gear for these expensive and high-functioning investments. 

In this entry of Spotlight on Safety, we discuss the importance of industrial robot safety, and we cover the importance of installing machine guarding that serves as robot cells. We also discuss an exceptional product solution to protect your high-tech investment. 

What is Machine Guarding?

Machine guarding refers to the barrier between machines and the rest of your manufacturing floor. These guards help ensure that your employees stay safe when navigating your workplace. Machines, including robots, feature many moving components that have the potential to cause serious injuries, such as amputations and crushing accidents

These safety systems are highly important for both your employees’ safety and the protection of your machining investments. Machine guarding is often composed of wiring mesh, enabling your employees to supervise your machines and robots without putting themselves in danger.

One great feature that you can add to your machine guarding is a safety switch. This powers down your machine when someone opens your machine guarding door. That way, employees and visitors won’t become injured when getting close to a potentially hazardous machine in an enclosed space.  

Here at Folding Guard, we create highly versatile machine guarding fences designed to accommodate any machine, including industrial robots. We also pride ourselves on developing machine guarding technology compatible with safety switch interlocks. Our machines also take up far less floor space than the average machine fence, meaning you’ll have a more open, comfortable workspace.   

Using Machine Guarding for Your Robots

Industrial safety fencing for robots is becoming increasingly necessary with more workplaces adopting high-tech automation. Like with all machines, robots include moving parts that have the potential to harm others. With a robot safety fence, you can rest easy knowing that your robot will remain secure, and your employees will avoid serious accidents. 

ISO Safety Standards for Robot Machine Guarding

Although the use of industrial robots and automation is a thrilling next step in manufacturing, companies need to abide by certain safety regulations to keep workers safe. 

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) established important universal safety measures that businesses and floor managers should follow. Their Type-C En ISO 10218-2:2011 technical standards outline the need for robot cells as well as the requirements for these cells.

Firstly, companies must use machine guards as robot cells when robots pose a hazard to workers. They must then be installed in a particular way based on specific risk assessments. When installing a machine guarding fence for your industrial robot, you must fill out a risk assessment form that identifies potential hazards with the machine. This form should include the likelihood of someone becoming injured, the total number of people at risk of injury, and the frequency with which someone may become injured. 

Machine guarding fences must be installed at a particular distance from industrial robots in order to ensure their functionality. There are three types of spaces when setting up a machine guarding fence: maximum space, restricted space, and safeguarded space. 

The maximum space refers to the maximum length that the robot can reach. Next, the restricted space is the robot’s total reach after your workplace installs various limiting devices. This is typically restricted to the robot’s operating space. Finally, the safeguarded space refers to the area enclosed by the machine guarding fence. 

When setting up machine guarding, you must consider the overall height of the fence in relation to nearby walking areas. ISO specifies that the robot cell may not be lower than 1400 millimeters. This specification ensures that the robot’s moving parts don’t injure an employee walking by the fence. 

Find the Best Robot Safety Fence

To keep your employees and your industrial robot safe, you need to invest in a quality machine guarding fence that meets ISO’s requirements. Fortunately, you can meet these necessities with Folding Guard’s Saf-T-Fence Machine Guarding

This modular system offers three different heights, 30 prefabricated wire mesh sizes, and different door styles, enabling you to construct a robot enclosure that suits your company’s needs while also staying in compliance with OSHA and ISO protocols. 

This machine guarding solution is also easy to assemble and install, saving your company valuable time.

In addition to our top-of-the-line machine guarding fences, we also offer exceptional safety, security, and storage solutions perfect for your business. Learn more by calling us today at (800) 622-2214, or you can contact us online