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Robot integration becomes easy

Just one programming interface for robot and machine tool

21 november 2011

Augsburg, October 2011 – KUKA Roboter and Siemens Drive Technologies unveil an application for the perfect integration of the robot into the Sinumerik interface for operator control and programming – without major effort, and ergonomic from the point of view of the integrator and machine tool operator.

The end-customer-friendly automation of machine tools requires the integration of industrial robots in machining cells in such a way that modifications that have to be made by the operator, e.g. retrofits, are either applied to the robot automatically or at least ergonomically comply with machine operation requirements. Furthermore, all cell-related operator actions, including those affecting the robot, must be possible from a single operator control unit in accordance with the “Single Point of Operation” principle. This includes interaction such as normal operator control, safe retraction, teaching and diagnosis.

Machine tool and robot programs can be run in parallel cahnnels on the sinumerik operate user interface

KUKA Roboter and Siemens Drive Technologies set themselves the challenge of presenting a correspondingly simple and efficient solution environment at EMO 2011. For this purpose, KUKA has developed the mxAutomation function block library. This enables full programming of the motion sequence of the KUKA robot in the Sinumerik interface. In other words, no particular previous knowledge of robot programming is required: the PLC programming tools with STEP 7 from Siemens can be used to create the entire robot program and prepare it to such an extent that it can be completed within the Sinumerik NC cycle programming. Execution of the machine tool and robot programs can then be controlled and monitored in parallel channels in the Sinumerik Operate user interface.

Familiar know-how can be transferred to the robot

Using the Sinumerik HT8 teach pendant and the user interface, it is not only machine tool-related setup actions that can be carried out; in accordance with the same operator control philosophy, the path and robot functions can also be taught. There is no longer any need to use multiple teach pendants. Once again, the mxAutomation blocks act as a bridge; applied in PLC utilities managed by Sinumerik, they command the robot accordingly via a Profinet interface. Execution of robot motions, provision of familiar and new robot safety functions and other robot-specific functions continue to be carried out by the KUKA KR C4 robot controller with the customary high levels of performance and reliability guaranteed by KUKA.

Acceptance leads to the planned ROI

Compared with manual loading and unloading, the advantages of using a robot quickly pay for themselves. Examples include the high quality of workpiece positioning, the option of a third fully-automated shift and the short conversion times for flexible production. The thing that has often stood in the way of automation by means of industrial robots was the lack of acceptance on the part of the operators. With their shared handling solution, based on mxAutomation and the open interfaces of the Sinumerik controllers, KUKA and Siemens have set new standards.

About the KUKA Robot Group

KUKA Roboter GmbH, with its headquarters in Augsburg, is a KUKA Aktiengesellschaft company and ranks among the world’s leading suppliers of industrial robots. Core competencies are the development, production and sale of industrial robots, controllers and software. The company is the market leader in Germany and Europe, and the number three in the world. KUKA Roboter GmbH employs about 2350 people worldwide. In 2010, sales totaled 435.7 million euro. 25 subsidiaries provide a presence in the major markets of Europe, America and Asia.