The controller that unifies robot and machine control into a single platform
Enter the Omron Integrated Controller, a high-performance unified platform that shortens installation time, reduces costs, supports faster troubleshooting, and yields superior performance. Omron’s Integrated Controller enables integrations for multiple automation devices together – particularly those that incorporate robotics.
New Integrated Controller capable of controlling robots and entire automation systems
Omron has recently introduced its most full-featured machine automation controller to date. Offering control of multiple robots, the choice of 16, 32, or 64 controlled motion axes, and SQL connectivity. It is the ideal control solution for complete robotic cells, high-speed motion systems, material handling and multi-robot systems.
Advanced robotic applications require versatile control that seamlessly manages complexity. The controller is the brain of a robot, and it executes the programming to operate the robot. A controller is also the mechanism that interfaces with other devices such as sensors, external motion axes, vision systems, IT/manufacturing information systems and even other robots. The capabilities of a robot controller directly impact the performance of the robot itself, but it also directs how the robot interacts with external devices and affects the ease of use. An integrated controller is a high-performance unified platform that can reduce time and cost, while simplifying operations and support.
What we’re seeing, and it’s been a trend for some time, and it just continues to grow, especially with current market conditions, is that they’re trying to be able to do more with less. They want to be more efficient with the tools that they’re purchasing to help their manufacturing. Performance is important—to be able to get more throughput through their manufacturing lines.
But they’re also looking for things that are easier to use—products that are more intuitive to the user. Software and hardware that work seamlessly together is a good example of that—easy to connect and set up. And they’re also looking to have the tools in place for the staff that they do have available to work on these projects and these systems, to be able to access those systems more easily, even if they might not be local to that particular facility. With the rise in remote work, we’re seeing more of that happen with manufacturers in the factories and those manufacturing systems.
It’s a little bit of a culture shift for many of those manufacturers because they’re very focused on having local resources, but now, with the challenges that they’re facing with labor shortages and being pressured to continue to produce as much as they are, they’re starting to embrace more of these technologies that allow them to do more, even remotely.
We’re at the point with our Sysmac Studio product where we’re able to actually simulate an entire work cell. Previously, we were able to do robot systems, but now we’re able to actually pull the custom designs of our users into the system and actually have those mechanical systems work as they would in the real world.
If somebody were to design an x-y-z table that is next to a CNC machining center that connects to an upstream and downstream conveyor system, where a robot is picking and placing on those, all of that can be set up in the simulation, including the sensors and the vision systems that would be used there. That ends up being a complete digital twin of that system and you can see how that’s running in the real world, even if you’re not there. Somebody can be remote and have a virtual representation of the real machine running 10 miles away, 1,000 miles away, and be able to help and troubleshoot that online or offline, remotely.
And then there are also tools in place to have performance monitoring and preventive maintenance measures that provide some extra intelligence for customers to be alerted to when something’s going to happen before it happens, so that they can encounter less overall downtime. What we’re seeing is these small bits and pieces of soft-ware, of functionality being added, where the combination of the visualization, the remote access, the performance monitoring tools and even some tools with AI in there that allow customers to be able to get a better control of their systems and be able to operate those as efficiently as possible. In the future, we’re just going to keep adding more of that intelligence to that software. It becomes a point where it’s more of a conversation. The software prompts you: “What do you want to do?” and it has the intelligence to understand what you’re looking for, based on how you configured the system. It’s very exciting.
This goes back to the importance of having an integrated solution that encompasses all of your automation disciplines. The more that controller can do in one spot, the more efficient that application, that process, is going to be. There’s less of that communication back and forth between the systems. It’s one native program talking the same language. It’s reducing the number of cooks in the kitchen, for lack of a better term, to having one single brain for the system. It’s that master controller that sequences everything. You don’t have to worry about configuring multiple devices in that way.
The newly released product that we have, the Robotics Integrated Controller, is a product that does that. It’s a machine automation controller that is able to control vision, robotics, external motion, many axes of external motion, many robots, safety and database connectivity to connect to the plant systems. It’s really your single source of machine control for systems of pretty much any size.
With the integrated controller that we have, it’s able to connect up to 64 external axes of motion. You can operate up to eight individual robots. There are versions with database connectivity, for those customers who need that extra communication, and there are others that don’t in case they don’t need it which helps keep things more affordable. And in terms of connecting the system to the plant systems and to each individual component, we have an architecture that uses the appropriate networks for each. Typically, when you’re talking about a general plant communications network, you don’t need super high speed. You don’t need deterministic communication with the plant systems. We have a separate, dedicated network for just general communications.
But for the network to control the connected devices that require more data and are more data-hungry, that do require the deterministic functionality to be able to have better synchronization, we have a high-speed EtherCAT network that connects all of those devices. The robots, the motion axes, the vision system, that’s all connected over the highspeed EtherCAT network, so that gives a very high-performance result to the devices and the overall system when it’s connected with that high-speed Ether-CAT network.
Integrated robotic solutions for materials transport
Omron’s LD Series mobile robots are Autonomous Intelligent Vehicles (AIVs) that dramatically increase productivity in manufacturing and logistics operations. This unique solution boosts throughput, reduces machine dwell time, eliminates errors and improves material traceability.
Today, Omron has the largest installed base of AIVs in manufacturing. Our mobile robots are a versatile technology that can be deployed in thousands of applications across multiple industries.
All-encompassing automation expertise
Omron’s top-of-the-line robotic automation solutions enhance even the most demanding manufacturing lines by providing five key benefits.
- Improved performance. The synchronization of our machine control with vision-guided robotics helps maximize throughput.
- Quick delivery. Our multiple automated warehouses ensure a short turnaround time for deliveries.
- Simplicity. Our integrated software environment reduces startup and maintenance time thanks to its intuitive, user-friendly design.
- Efficiency. All production data coming from Omron’s robots, controllers and sensors is collected, shared and managed to optimize productivity.
- Flexibility. Omron’s software assisted system automatically generates new programming code base on the application at hand.