Klaus Dürr is a standards specialist at Pilz. As Vice President of the Standards Group, he is responsible for the coordination and organisation of national and international standardisation work and brings this essential knowledge into the company. In our discussion, he explains which standards are currently keeping him busy and which trends he is monitoring, and he reveals whether standards have a common thread globally.
Klaus Dürr, you are working in 16 standards committees to help design standards. What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment the industrial robot standards ISO 10218 (Robotics – Safety requirements – Part 1: Industrial robots and Part 2: Industrial robot systems, robot applications and robot cells) are being revised. The work here has been considerably impeded by corona-related complications and various time zones. My international working group has however managed to consistently incorporate the EHSR (Essential health and safety requirements) of the Machinery Directive. This is the precondition that allows the ISO to later be adopted as an EN ISO (European standard) practically without changes and enables harmonisation with the Machinery Directive. This considerably facilitates its comprehensive implementation. We are also currently working on revising IEC 62046 (Safety of machinery – Application of protective equipment to detect the presence of persons).
And how do you spend your time when you happen to not be meeting with a standards committee?
Indeed, with five national and eleven international standards committees, the preparation and follow-up for the meetings tends to be time-consuming. Ultimately I want my work to really make a difference and to produce practical suggestions that help industry. I am also busy ensuring that our internal standards database at Pilz is always up to date. Working with current standards is absolutely essential for us as a safe automation specialist. I filter information about standards, proposed standards and trends in standards. The trick here is differentiating between important and unimportant and deciding which information is reliable.
Are additional standards even necessary?
Yes, the amount of proposed standards is actually rising sharply. More proposed standards, however, also means a greater need for experts in the committees. But experts are rare and already quite busy with their primary tasks at their companies. Companies in the EU have to not only pay for the working hours, but also for the employees’ travel expenses to the standards committees. Other countries such as China have an advantage here. Thanks to government funding, it is easier to send experts.
Since we are already looking at the world: Do you find that there is some kind of global common thread among standards? Wouldn’t that make life easier?
Definitely, what could be better than a standard that is essentially recognised worldwide and that requires everyone to meet the same specifications? It’s difficult, however, because of the differences in economic interests, markets and cultures. But frequently at standards meetings, we will be having dinner together and will discover just how much common ground there is. It is a chance to better understand the perspectives of fellow colleagues. Most experts in international standards committees work hard to develop standards so that they do not serve as an obstacle to any technology. But a functional global foundation still remains a distant goal