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KR C4 – an all-in-one solution

With the KR C4, robotic technology leader KUKA is launching a control system onto the market that integrates robot, motion, sequence and process control.

den 15 juni 2010

But that is not all. Even more important is the fact that the complete safety controller is seamlessly integrated into the KR C4 control system. In other words, the KR C4 performs all tasks at once.
In the new control system, KUKA has systematically dispensed with limiting hardware and replaced it with intelligent software functions. The concept is thus characterized by its absolute openness and future compatibility. 

Conventional interfaces are replaced by intelligent, linked data streams, thus allowing direct communication between the individual control modules of the KR C4.

KR C4 – The control system for the future


The revolutionary concept of the KR C4 provides a firm foundation for the automation of tomorrow. The systematic elimination of limiting hardware and its replacement with commonly-used, open industry standards, such as multi-core and Ethernet technology, offers enormous performance and development potential. Based on these technologies, Ethernet-based field bus systems, such as ProfiNet or Ethernet/IP, can be simply integrated as software functions. In this way, the KR C4 concept will automatically benefit from future leaps in development and performance increases. This new systematic approach, implementing the control processes as software functions, reduces the number of hardware modules by 35% and the connectors and cables by 50%.

On-board safet

For the first time, the complete safety controller is seamlessly integrated into the KR C4 control system without proprietary hardware. Safety functions and safety-oriented communication are implemented on the basis of Ethernet-based protocols.

The safety concept in the KR C4 is centered on the multi-core technology used, thus ensuring the dual-channel system required for safety applications. Moreover, the system offers far more than mere monitoring functions. Instead, the concept makes it possible to influence the motion and velocity of the robot safely.

The elimination of restrictive hardware components and the limitless expandability of the software-based safety interfaces pave the way for the implementation of revolutionary new safety concepts in automation. Particularly in the field of human-robot cooperation, new sensors will be used in the future. These require large numbers of inputs and outputs, however. The architecture of the KR C4 gives KUKA Roboter GmbH the required flexibility to integrate them.

KUKA – Pioneer in safety

When it comes to safety, KUKA Roboter GmbH is taking another step towards safe control with the control architecture of the KR C4. With around 5000 safe robots already installed, KUKA has many years of experience in this area. The Safe Robot concept is set to establish itself as an industry standard given that it saves production area, simplifies manual loading stations without the need for additional safety equipment, and is the sine qua non for direct human-machine cooperation.
Building on the controller concept, KUKA is also presenting the new WorkVisual engineering workbench and the new KUKA smartPAD control panel.

Simply smart: The new KUKA smartpad operator panel

Weighing only about 1000 grams, the KUKA smartPAD offers not only service-proven operator control elements, such as the 6D mouse, but also a wide range of new user-friendly features, such as a USB port for convenient saving and loading of data directly on the control panel. Essentially, the smartPAD is operated using a large, high-resolution, 8.4" antireflection touch screen and few keys. It is now possible to control eight axes conveniently, as opposed to six previously, without switching. When working with the KUKA smartPAD, the user is only offered those operator control elements that he actually needs at any given moment, thereby enabling intuitive and efficient work.

KUKA.workvisual – The universal workbench for integrated engineering

The modular structure of the KUKA.WorkVisual software architecture groups all the steps of a project together in a homogenous software environment and can be used as a planning tool, for cell configuration and as a universal programming environment.

From configuration to programming and optimization, WorkVisual simplifies all automation tasks with a uniform look & feel for all tools. The individual tools of WorkVisual offer a degree of user-friendliness comparable with that of MS Office with a standardized user interface and menu navigation, e.g. Copy & Paste, Drag & Drop or code snippets. Catalogs and project data that are not program-specific ensure data consistency and seamless integration. With the decisive advantage that the program code is already checked for logic while these functions are used in the background. This means that project errors are nipped in the bud.