Robot systems at YASKAWA: today and tomorrow
26. February 2018
The terms “Built-to-order”, “Remote monitoring” and “Customised production” have never been more relevant in Industrie 4.0. The implementation of complex products in batch size 1, as well as the smallest series, presents an enormous challenge in the automation of the respective processes. In order to convert the layout and function to a new product, the production line must be highly flexible. This form of individualization of automatically manufactured products has hitherto been undermined by high unit labour costs. With the aid of modern robots, the different product versions can now be integrated into the normal manufacturing process without decreasing returns to scale.
In the MotoMINI demo cell, for example, developed as a concept study, new miniature robots demonstrate the potential of individualized manufacturing (building-to-order) in the assembly of model cars. The customer can use a tablet to create a construction plan, and the production of the desired cars starts in an instant automatically. Additionally, the current performance of all components and sensors can be monitored in real time within the production line.
MotoLogix interface generation for robot control by PLC
If industrial robots are employed on a larger scale than with the MotoMINI, their interaction with production machines and control environments will gain in significance. For a long time the two worlds – robot and machine control – had to be separately programmed, controlled and maintained. This conventional interplay of robots and machines is still possible, but meanwhile out of date in the light of new technical advances. YASKAWA offers an efficient alternative: with MotoLogix MOTOMAN robots can be quickly and easily programmed and controlled by PLC in the customary IEC-61131 environment. In addition to Profinet, the Ethernet/IP and Powerlink platforms have now been approved for Siemens environments.
Due to integration into the PLC, all the genuine advantages of robot control are maintained. The robot controller calculates the motion kinematics and guarantees high quality of movement. In other words: YASKAWA know-how can still be guaranteed when it comes to exact motion sequences of the manipulators. This applies in particular to all kinds of handling, such as machine loading, picking, packaging, placing, palletizing and measuring, testing and sorting, where these robots and respective controls can demonstrate their strengths. The simple integration of robot controls in the PLC pays off not only in the operation of complex production plants. With MotoLogix PLC know-how suffices for the control of robots. This obviates the need to seek robot-trained personnel or the expense of retraining staff for the purpose. YASKAWA robots can thus be operated worldwide under the same conditions.
The next step in the implementation of integrated control concepts is the networked management of systems and processes. In Japan and Europe, Yaskawa is presently working on the respective integrated, software-based solutions.
New robot models
Having said this, efficient robot models continue to be the technical basis for such pioneering automation solutions. One example is the MOTOMAN GP series from YASKAWA. “GP” stands for “General Purpose” and thus for multiple applications. This compact and extremely fast GP series of handling robots was developed for particularly fast joining, packaging and general handling applications. With payloads of 7, 8, 12 and 25 kg, the new 6-axis robots are the fastest in their class and thus true productivity drivers.
Like the first GP series of models, the latest development GP25 was also designed with wrist axes (R, B, T) in protection class IP67. Without further modification it can also be used in rugged environments for handling and other automation tasks.
Their slim and compact design permits the manipulators to delve deep into the workspace, and the smooth surfaces facilitate the cleaning of GP robots. Only one robot cable is required for the connection between the manipulator and controller. The benefits of this solution lie in less wear and reduced space requirements. The spare parts inventory and maintenance costs are likewise reduced.
The GP series of robots is controlled by the new high performance MOTOMAN YRC1000 controller. With its open interfaces the new controller generation is predestined for use in Industrie 4.0 environments. The extremely compact controls with a cabinet volume of only 125 litres permit optimum use of the available space. The product portfolio is rounded off by a wide range of additional cabinets in the same design.
Alexander Luna Garcia, Sales GI Robots & Products
YASKAWA Europe GmbH, Robotics Division, Allershausen
Mobile: +49 151 613 66 041
E-mail: alexander.luna-garcia (at)yaskawa.eu.com
Contact for readers’ enquiries: