AMPLIFIERS & DRIVES/CONTROLLERS
INDRAMOTION MLC WITH EMBEDDED ROBOTICS,
Machine builders increasingly have the option of saying no to dedicated robot controllers even as their production machines bristle with robotics. Instead, they can make use of the embedded robot controls that have started to appear within general-purpose motion controllers. One of the most comprehensive efforts to embed robotics control comes from Bosch-Rexroth Corp.
The company's IndraMotion MLC controller ships with more than 100 ready-to-use robot kinematics, including ones for Delta, SCARA and Cartesian robots. It also offers full six-axis motion planning.
One thing that sets the IndraMotion MLC controller apart is the number of robot kinematics it can handle simultaneously, according to Rami Al-Ashqar, the company's motion control manager. “One controller can run eight kinematics simultaneously, each of them with up to eight axes,” he says, crediting the controller 1-GHz processor and use of the SERCOS III protocol to communicate with the drives.
And the IndraMotion MLC allows uses to mix-and-match robotics with other types of auxiliary equipment and the i/o for the primary machine. Some packaging customers, for example, have used the IndraMotion MLC to run both robots and auxiliaries such as case packers. “The beauty of the system is that all the controls development for all the different types of equipment and motion axes can take place in the same programming environment,” Al-Ashqar says.
Once the robotics are embedded, from a physical and controls standpoint, cost reduction can result. Al-Ashqar has seen packaging applications save in the neighborhood of 40 percent of the robot hardware cost through the use of embedded controls. “There were even more savings from an implementation standpoint,” he says.