Ergonomics and usability of pendant terminals for improved safety

Feb. 24, 2005

From Pendant

HIGHLY ADVANCED automated production systems have recently been developed, however, humans still operate machines directly in many environments, especially in teaching operations where operators program robots using pendant terminals. Teaching operations are in most cases performed in hazardous areas, thus ensuring operator safety is of primary importance. Various standards such as ANSI/RIA R15.06, IEC60204-1, ANSI B11.19, and ISO10218 (Manipulating industrial robots Safety) which is currently being revised, describe the requirement of pendant terminals with 3-position enabling switches [1-4]. Accordingly, the usage of such devices has dramatically increased in the last few years.

This White Paper reports the evolutionary improvement in pendant terminals, safety components for installing on the pendant terminals, both of which have been developed from the viewpoints of ergonomics and usability, based on thorough analysis of human behaviors on the operation of machinery.

After presenting the safety of ergonomically-designed pendant terminals at the 2nd SIAS conference in 2001, the writers of this White Paper have further pursued enhancement in ergonomic and usability aspects, and conducted researches on operator usability of pendant terminals in actual working environments. The White Paper concludes that the requirement of pendant terminals that ensure operator safety has greatly increased, and the urgent development of such devices is highly expected.