Robot Primer 9: The Integration Advantage
Most robots are integrated systems.Â 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:
- Unpack the robot and controller
- Place it on a solid bench and mount it (with help from our techs)
- Connect the robot power cable to the controller
- Connect air to the robot (for the Z axis)
- Connect the teach pendent to the controller
- Have our techs connect a simple end effector (it’s nice having a machine shop)
- Connect AC power to the the controller
- Start the system
- Teach a few points using the teach pendent
- Create a simple move routine going through several points using the teach pendent and searching through the manual for the appropriate commands
- Test it
Now when I’m setting up a motion controller, it starts with:
- Unpack the motion controller, motors, and stages
- Find the motion controller documentation
- Connect electrical power to the motion controller via the appropriate terminal blocks
- Find the motor documentation
- Use a break-out board to connect the motors to the motion controller
- Configure the motion controller for the motor, and try to spin the motor, verifying encoder, hall sensors, etc.
- Do some initial tuning.
- Connect the motor to the stage.
- Verify the limit sensors.
- 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.Â And to be fair, many (most?) robot applications will take considerable programming time.