“Renovated” Safety Standards for Automated Warehouses and Conveyor Systems

 

In recent years, automated warehouses with multi-aisle storage/retrieval machines and high-bay racks have established all over Europe. The pandemic has fanned this development, as online dealers and fulfilment agents experience outstanding growth.
Automatic warehouses and the adjacent conveying and sorting systems, order picking, and goods in/out stations entail multiple hazards from the machinery involved. This year, two of the most important safety standards in this field have been renovated.

 

Which are the two revised standards?
EN 528
dealing with “Rail dependent storage and retrieval equipment” (so called S/R machines) and their immediate surroundings was already published in March 2021. The standard is very detailed and specific, making it a must-have for all manufacturers, system designers and the companies operating S/R machines.

EN 619, the second standard, covers “Equipment for mechanical handling of unit loads” and is close to publication. It deals with all types of conveyor systems employed in practically all branches of the industry. With its broad scope of application and the wide range of products and systems involved it likely is one of the most important type C¹ standards.

 

 

The predecessors of these standards were both relatively old and did not cover many of the safety issues that have been posed by recent technical innovations in the respective fields. Both standards primarily focus on three safety aspects:

  • safely keeping persons away from danger hazard locations while machinery is running
  • safely disabling equipment while persons are working on it (or simply are present in the hazard zone) – this is often referred to as safety for “whole body access”
  • safe operating modes and operating mode changes

 

What do the updates of EN 528 and EN 619 mean for the industry?

The importance of early, systematic, and detailed risk assessment is highlighted by the new standards, as is systematic verification and validation of the safety measures taken. Clear and strict rules are set regarding perimeter guarding (fencing), monitoring of access doors and presence sensing inside hazard areas. EN 528 also focusses on operating modes and safe change from one mode to the other.

The new EN 619 will introduce an “area concept” subdividing conveying systems into public and traffic areas, working places, restricted and danger areas. It deals heavily with safety at the entry/exit points to hazard zones for both persons and transported loads. The size of in/out openings and of guards limiting access to hazard zones will be updated and specified more precisely.
EN 619 also seeks to include safety requirements for new technology introduced in conveying and storage systems such as transfer cars, vertical transfer devices, tote conveyors, and destination coded vehicles.

How can Axelent support you?

Axelent offers much of the equipment needed to ensure safety in such environments: fencing and doors, entry/exit gating, guard railing for walkways and fall protection for mezzanine floors, as well as suitable locks.
For instance, EN 528 requires that access doors open to the outside only and that it must be possible to open the lock from outside with a key only, but without a key from the inside at any time. These requirements are met by our different X-It lock solutions and among those the electric lock with escape release function. However, an interlocking switch will always have to be added to the X-It lock.

Related standards you may want to check out:

EN ISO 11161:2010 - Integrated manufacturing systems - Basic requirements (currently under revision). This standard contains detailed requirements and helpful hints for the safety of systems made up of several machines, robots, and conveyor systems. It particularly helps control system designers to ensure safety of operating modes, access to hazard zones, and troubleshooting/maintenance “on the fly”.

ANSI B11.20:2017 - Safety Requirements for the Integration of Machinery into a System. Though this is an American standard not applicable in the EU, it is more up to date than the current ISO 11161:2010 and will thus be helpful for designers of IMS. Much of its innovations will be adopted by the revision of ISO 11161.

ISO 3691-4:2020 - Industrial trucks - Safety requirements and verification - Part 4: Driverless industrial trucks and their systems. This new standard also deals with driverless robot-type carriages lifting and transporting totes between unmanned storage areas and order picking/commissioning workplaces.

EN ISO 24134:2018 - Industrial trucks - Additional requirements for automated functions on trucks

ANSI/ITSDF B 56.5:2019 - Safety Standard for Guided Industrial Vehicles and Automated Functions of Manned Industrial Vehicles

ANSI/RIA R 15.08-1:2020 - Industrial Mobile Robots - Safety Requirements - Part 1: Requirements for the Industrial Mobile Robot

EN ISO 13482:2014 - Robots and robotic devices - Safety requirements for personal care robots

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¹ Type C standards contain safety requirements for a particular product or product group. For more information on the structure of safety standards see link to:

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