Recently, VisionNav Robotics (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd. has obtained the CE certificate for automated guided vehicles（AGVs） in compliance with the 2006/42/EC EU Machinery Directive and ISO 3691-4:2020 latest international standard Since the implementation of the latest ISO 3691-4 standard, TÜV SÜD (hereinafter referred to as "TÜV SÜD") has issued the first CE certificate for unmanned industrial vehicles in China. ISO 3691-4 is considered to be the "most valuable" unmanned industrial vehicle standard in the European Union. The acquisition of this certification means that the overall safety performance of VisionNav's AGV forklift has reached an international level.
As a leading third-party testing and certification organization in the field of industrial robots, TÜV SÜD has always followed strict certification requirements and procedures to provide companies with guidance on technical specifications and safety requirements. At present, TÜV SÜD has provided services to thousands of enterprises in the fields of electrical and electronic, aviation, automobile, medical, food, large-scale industrial equipment, amusement facilities, etc. The relevant person in charge of TÜV SÜD said that since the release of the ISO 3691-4:2020 international standard, the AGV industry has responded enthusiastically, and many well-known companies in the industry have put the certification acquisition of the new standard on the agenda.
The release of the new ISO 3691-4 standard has passed 23 years after the previous version of the standard EN 1525:1997, which will be hailed as the "most comprehensive" unmanned industrial vehicle standard in history. With the rapid development of various emerging technologies in recent years, the EN 1525 standard has been unable to meet the safety requirements for unmanned industrial vehicles in more and more complex application scenarios. From a more comprehensive perspective, the new standard ISO 3691-4 further improves the safety architecture, expands the requirements for safety functions, and clarifies various verification methods that are more practical on the basis of inheriting the technical framework of EN 1525. The new standard provides authoritative design guidelines for a new generation of unmanned industrial vehicles in terms of risk assessment of actual application scenarios, safety system hardware architecture, software safety design, safety function testing, and on-site project implementation.
Mr. Liang Weijie, the safety design expert in charge of the project of VisionNav automated guided vehicle CE certification, mentioned that under the new MD guidelines (2006/42/EC), ISO 3691-4 has become the only international standard for industrial unmanned vehicles. As a TÜV SÜD Functional Safety Professional, Mr. Liang Weijie has been engaged in safety design work for the past 12 years. He has participated in many internationally complex renowned projects like theme parks, Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong West Kowloon High-Speed Rail Terminal, and Hong Kong connecting section of Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge.
"The most challenging part of the new standard is how to seamlessly integrate various safety monitoring functions with the braking system control." Mr. Liang said frankly that ISO 3691-4 proposes more risk points and operation modes in more scenarios. With higher requirements, the items involved are more detailed, specific, and comprehensive, including:
- SRP/CS security level. The SRP/CS security architecture of EN 1525 focuses on only one dimension of Category according to the old EN 954 standard. ISO 3691-4 adopts the safety design methodology of ISO 13849-1/2 (replaced EN 954 in 2006) and provides more comprehensive guidelines for safety function design from the five dimensions of Structure, Reliability, Diagnosis, Resistance, and Process.
- Verification method. Compared with EN 1525, ISO 3691-4 puts forward the single functional test verification method of the old standard more logically from the five aspects of Design check, Calculation, Inspection (visual or audible), Measurement, and Functional test.
- Control System. EN 1525 divides the control system into 10 safety classifications. On this basis, the new standard ISO 3691-4 makes more detailed provisions for each classification and explicitly adds two safety function demands: Automatic and Manual, Maintenance Modes, and Braking System.
"For the field of hard technology represented by industrial robots, technology is the accelerator, and safety is the brake." Dr. Li Luyang, CEO of VisionNav, described the status of safety design in this way. Li Luyang introduced that the promotion of CE certification is not only VisionNav's pursuit and understanding of the safety design of unmanned industrial vehicles, but also the actual concern of users. "We have a well-known foreign-funded enterprise customer in Guangzhou, who pays special attention to the safety design of autonomous forklifts." Li Luyang said, "Although it is a simple unmanned warehousing process about the finished product because the customer's single-pallet cargo is very valuable, it is also in an environment where humans and machines are mixed, therefore, every safety accident may cause millions of losses. At present, the project has been running safely for nearly a year, and the second phase of cooperation is being promoted.”
Driven by Industry 4.0 and Made in China 2025, new technologies, new industries, and new opportunities are happening every day. In the hard technology industry, especially in rigid-need scenarios closely related to industrial manufacturing, safety is always an inescapable topic, it is also the basis for scale replication after all new technologies are commercialized. VisionNav is stepping up its layout and will continue to launch more AGV products that meet the industry's advanced standards to promote the large-scale application of unmanned industrial vehicles at home and abroad.