“I want my work to make a difference”

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

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