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Posts from — October 2013

Robot Primer 9: The Integration Advantage

Most robots are integrated systems.  Combined with robot controller features such as kinematics and teaching points, this makes it much faster to to get a robot up and running.

When we were evaluating a Denso robot, I setup it up in one day, from unpacking to running a simple demo. My task was like this:

  1. Unpack the robot and controller
  2. Place it on a solid bench and mount it (with help from our techs)
  3. Connect the robot power cable to the controller
  4. Connect air to the robot (for the Z axis)
  5. Connect the teach pendent to the controller
  6. Have our techs connect a simple end effector (it’s nice having a machine shop)
  7. Connect AC power to the the controller
  8. Start the system
  9. Teach a few points using the teach pendent
  10. Create a simple move routine going through several points using the teach pendent and searching through the manual for the appropriate commands
  11. Test it

Now when I’m setting up a motion controller, it starts with:

  1. Unpack the motion controller, motors, and stages
  2. Find the motion controller documentation
  3. Connect electrical power to the motion controller via the appropriate terminal blocks
  4. Find the motor documentation
  5. Use a break-out board to connect the motors to the motion controller
  6. Configure the motion controller for the motor, and try to spin the motor, verifying encoder, hall sensors, etc.
  7. Do some initial tuning.
  8. Connect the motor to the stage.
  9. Verify the limit sensors.
  10. Then I have to repeat steps 4-9 for all the other axes, and we still just have a bunch of unconnected stages.

Of course, if you’re using a robot controller with custom cartesian stages, setup time will be longer.  And to be fair, many (most?) robot applications will take considerable programming time.

October 6, 2013   1 Comment