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  • Industry Insights

Gausium’s Guide to Commercial Cleaning Robot Safety: Demystifying ISO and IEC Standards

March 12, 2024

Commercial cleaning robots have become increasingly prevalent in various industries, from hospitality and healthcare to retail and manufacturing. These robots offer efficiency, consistency, and cost-effectiveness in maintaining cleanliness in commercial spaces. With their increasing presence, ensuring their safety has become paramount. This is where international standards come into play. But for many, navigating through the labyrinth of acronyms like ISO, UL, and IEC can be daunting. Fear not, as we embark on a journey to demystify these standards and understand their significance in ensuring robot safety.

Introducing International Safety Standards and Organizations for Standardization

Safety standards are categorized into four hierarchical levels: International, Regional, National, and Group standards. Each standard is harmonized in content by aligning with higher-level standards. At the top of the hierarchy, International standards are those that are universally adopted and utilized by countries across the globe.

An International organization for standardization is an organization that sets internationally applicable standards, established through international agreements. These standards are open to participation from any country or region without restrictions. Examples of such organizations include ISO, IEC and ITU.

Abbreviation ISO IEC ITU
Official Name International Organization for Standardization International Electrotechnical Commission International Telecommunication Union
Target Field Industrial products such as cars and plastics, management structure, etc. Electrical engineering and electronic technology  Wireless and electrical communication

 

Key International Standards for Ensuring Safety in Commercial Cleaning Robots

ISO Standards

ISO is an independent, non-governmental international organization that develops and publishes voluntary international standards. When it comes to robot safety, ISO has several standards that are widely recognized and adopted across the globe.

ISO 10218 is one of the most notable standards, which addresses the safety requirements for industrial robots. It covers aspects such as robot design, system integration, and safeguarding measures to protect operators and bystanders from potential hazards associated with robotic operations.

ISO 18650 is a fundamental standard focusing on the safety requirements for household and similar electrical appliances, including those used in commercial settings. It covers aspects such as electrical safety, mechanical hazards, and protection against overheating to ensure the safe use of these appliances in diverse environments.

ISO 18489 is another essential standard that addresses the safety and performance of commercial robotic equipment, including cleaning robots. This standard outlines requirements for robot design, operation, and maintenance to minimize risks to operators, bystanders, and property in commercial applications.

IEC Standards

IEC is another international standards organization that develops and publishes standards related to electrical and electronic technologies. In the realm of robotics, IEC standards often intersect with those of ISO, especially concerning electrical safety and compatibility.

IEC 61508 is a fundamental standard focusing on the functional safety of electrical, electronic, and programmable electronic systems, including robots. It provides a framework for assessing and managing risks associated with these systems throughout their lifecycle.

IEC 62061 is another crucial standard focusing on the functional safety of electrical, electronic, and programmable electronic systems, including robots used in commercial applications. This standard provides a framework for assessing and managing risks associated with these systems throughout their lifecycle.

IEC 60335-2-72 addresses the safety requirements for powered ride-on and powered walk-behind machines designated for commercial use, both indoors and outdoors, encompassing various applications such as sweeping, scrubbing, wet or dry pick-up, polishing, application of wax, sealing products, powder-based detergents, and shampooing of floors. These machines exhibit a cleaning motion predominantly linear rather than lateral or periodic in nature.

IEC 63327 pertains to the safety guidelines for powered automatic floor treatment machines, commonly known as robotic cleaners, designed for indoor commercial usage. This standard encompasses various applications such as sweeping, scrubbing, wet or dry pick-up, shampooing, polishing, etc. of floors. Additionally, IEC-63327 includes provisions for the autonomous operation of cleaning machines, aligning with other safety standards like IEC 60335-2-72, which specifically addresses safety considerations for floor scrubbers. 

Why Do These Standards Matter?

The importance of adhering to these standards cannot be overstated. They serve as guidelines for manufacturers to design and produce robots that are safe to operate, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries. Compliance with these standards not only protects human operators and bystanders but also instills confidence in the reliability and quality of robotic systems.

Furthermore, adherence to international standards facilitates interoperability and harmonization across different markets, allowing manufacturers to reach a broader audience without having to navigate through a maze of conflicting regulations.

How to Seek Certification for Safety Standards? 

When seeking certification for safety standards, partnering with accredited testing bodies is essential. Here’s an overview of some reputable testing organizations recognized for evaluating compliance with these standards:

UL: As a global leader in safety science, UL offers comprehensive testing and certification services for a wide range of industries and products. With extensive expertise in electrical, mechanical, and environmental testing, UL is a trusted partner for achieving compliance with safety standards such as the aforementioned ISO 10218 and IEC 62061.

Intertek: Intertek is another prominent testing and certification organization known for its rigorous evaluation of products’ safety, performance, and quality. With a global network of laboratories and experts, Intertek provides testing services to help manufacturers achieve compliance with various safety standards, including those relevant to cleaning and automation equipment.

TÜV SÜD: TÜV SÜD is a leading provider of testing, inspection, and certification services worldwide. With specialized expertise in areas such as electrical safety, mechanical integrity, and functional safety, TÜV SÜD offers comprehensive testing solutions to support manufacturers in meeting the requirements of safety standards like IEC 60335 and IEC 63327.

 

References:

1. ISO 10218-1:2011(en) Robots and robotic devices — Safety requirements for industrial robots. Retrieved from: https://www.iso.org/standard/51330.html

2. IEC 60335-2-72:2021 Household and similar electrical appliances – Safety – Part 2-72: Particular requirements for floor treatment machines with or without traction drive, for commercial use. Retrieved from: https://webstore.iec.ch/publication/64778

3. IEC 63327:2021 Automatic floor treatment machines for commercial use – Particular requirements. Retrived from: https://webstore.iec.ch/publication/62787

4. Robotic Safety, Security and Performance. UL. Retrieved from: https://www.ul.com/services/robotic-safety-security-and-performance

5. TESTING OF ROBOTS AND ROBOT CONTROLLERS. TÜV SÜD. Retrieved from: https://www.tuvsud.com/en/industries/manufacturing/machinery-and-robotics/robotic-safety