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Robot controller

Comes with Euromap 67 and CANopen ports

Wittmann has developed the R8 series of robot controllers, which are based on industrial PCs. Besides one CANopen interface, they provide Ethernet and USB connectivity.

The R8 robot controller is intended for use with injection molding machines (Photo: Wittmann)

USUALLY, REMOVAL ROBOTS FOR THE PLASTICS processing industry are autonomous and closed systems. They integrate all internal devices, like decentralized control cards, servo modules, as well as teach-in user interfaces. Common removal robots simply provide digital in- and outputs for external communication. In the best case, flexible controls of connected automation systems can be realized. Today's common office automation visualizes the advantages of connectivity and free data exchange. The same request has come up for robot controls.

This is why the Austrian company Wittmann, which is part of the Battenfeld group, has developed the R8 series featuring open interfaces such as Euromap 67. Additionally, the controller provides a CANopen interface. Via the this interfaces time critical information can be transferred, for instance the connection of encoder inputs for the following of objects on moving conveyors. Another possibility is the integration of servo modules into the automation systems, which can be directly addressed and controlled from the robot controller. Up to 12 servo modules can be distributed to various axis of robots and automations systems.
Another application for real-time signals is given through the signal and position exchange of robot and injection molding machine, as implemented with the B6 controller by Battenfeld. This integration provides additional possibilities for the expedited removal of molded parts and thereby the increase of productivity between machine and robot.

The R8 family also provides other interfaces including Ethernet connectivity. The product can send emails containing error messages, mode changes, etc. In addition, users can send an email with the complete command buffer and the error list, as well as the current teach program. This information can be sent to 25 addressees at the same time. Another feature is the Internet remote maintenance. The transfer of error messages via email presents the first step towards an automated remote monitoring system. A further remote maintenance can be accomplished with the combination of the VNC viewer and the optional R8 CLI software module. Through the VNC viewer, the entire Teachbox can be viewed and operated. The software module allows the selective request for all system relevant parameters and conditions of the robots. Additionally, miscellaneous variables in the teach program can be edited. The software can furthermore be used for the automated connection to an ERP system.

The R8 robot controller is intended for use with injection molding machines (Photo: Wittmann)

The robot control unit is also capable of actively protecting the system against collisions. For example, if a user moves a robot in manual mode but gets distracted, the robot hits the safety guard of the molding machine or even a tie bar. Such small mishaps are all too human, but can carry a high price tag, if the damage is not only optical, but if the robot’s vertical arm or end-of-arm tooling needs repair. Damages can even happen at low speeds of manual motion control, which typically are at 250 mm/s. The controller provides appropriate safety functions (e.g. Safe-Motion and Flex-Safe). The Safe-Motion function is permanently active in the background and immediately recognizes an increase of the torque moment of a motor. As soon as a pre-defined rate of increase is detected, which signals hitting an object in a real-life situation, the motor is deactivated.

Load capacity of 25 kg

The W822 unit substitutes the W832 model, which was too highly dimensioned for the traditional range of small machines. The mechanical dimensions of the W822 model are identical with those of the proven W821 series: a horizontal axis of up to maximal 4000 mm and a de-molding stroke of up to 550 mm. A novelty is the vertical axis, which has 15-kg load capacity over a distance of up to 1200 mm and is still able to move 12 kg at maximum speed over a distance of 1400 mm. The W822 robot can be equipped with additional functions, such as servo rotation axes, additional I/O extensions, vacuum, and gripper circuits.