Robotics: Higher speeds, more power, programming advances


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Program Yaskawa Motoman robots with ROS Industrial open-source software and NI LabVIEW

Yaskawa Motoman offers programming options beyond Motoman software, with National Instruments LabVIEW and ROS Industrial support for Motoman FS100 and DX100 controllers. Courtesy: Yaskawa MotomanA new Yaskawa Motoman Robotics Library (YMRL) for National Instruments LabVIEW 2012 facilitates the programming of Motoman robots into applications using the LabVIEW graphical interface. LabVIEW users can now readily integrate Motoman robots into production or quality control applications.

Support for the ROS-Industrial framework has been expanded to include the FS100 controller. Researchers developing new robotics algorithms or applications can now adopt any Motoman robot into their work.

“Yaskawa Motoman is working to democratize robotics. Historically, the industry approach has been based on proprietary languages. The users were expected to know the robot OEM’s language or learn it,” said Erik Nieves, technology director. “We believe this has stunted the adoption of robotics into new markets. Instead, we continue to introduce new means to program our robots including [Rockwell Automation] RSLogix, [NI] LabVIEW, and ROS Industrial [an open-source industrial robotics package from Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), an independent, nonprofit applied research and development organization. ROS stands for robot operating system.]. These well-established programming frameworks are familiar to users in various markets and will accelerate the growth of robotics into new areas.”

The multiple language approach can be seen performing a variety of new applications at Automate 2013.

Yaskawa Motoman FS100 Controller: Powerful controls, open software, compact package

The FS100 controller is designed to work with open software architecture and is intended for Motoman robots with payloads of 20 kg and under. Courtesy: Yaskawa MotomanThe new high-performance Yaskawa Motoman FS100 controller is designed with open software architecture and supports PCI Express, C#, C++, .NET, ROS-Industrial, NI LabVIEW, and Motoman INFORM III. The FS100 enables OEMs, machine builders, and integrators to develop their customized software solutions.

"To meet the growing needs of our customers, it is often necessary to create custom functionality for the robot controller. The FS100 design leverages hardware standards and open software to allow easy extensibility of the controls,” said Erik Nieves, Technology Director at Yaskawa Motoman. “It is now possible for users or system integrators to easily integrate off-the-shelf hardware or write value-added functions to the robot controller.”

Designed for packaging, assembly, and material handling applications, the FS100 controller is compatible with Motoman robots with payloads up to 20 kg, including the high-speed MPP3 delta-style robot.

Next-generation Yaskawa Motoman DX100 Controller: Multi-robot, system-level controls

Motoman DX100 robot controller easily handles multiple tasks, such as control of up to eight robots (72 axes). Courtesy: Yaskawa MotomanUsing patented multiple robot control technology, Yaskawa Motoman’s next-generation DX100 controller easily handles multiple tasks including control of up to eight robots (72 axes), as well as I/O devices and communication protocols. The energy-saving DX100 features faster processing speeds, advanced robot arm control for smoother interpolation, built-in collision avoidance, and quicker I/O response. These advanced control functions take advantage of Yaskawa’s Sigma-5 motor technology to optimize acceleration characteristics and reduce cycle time.

Featuring a robust PC architecture, the DX100 uses a Microsoft Windows CE programming pendant with color touchscreen. Multiple window display capability and a unique cross-shaped navigation cursor reduce teaching time by 30%, and program files can now be up to 32 characters long. A convenient compact flash slot and USB port facilitate memory backups. All operator controls are located on the pendant, allowing the control cabinet to be mounted remotely. Connections to the controller cabinet are made through the back of the unit, optimizing floor space. The space-saving control cabinet allows for up to three external axes and can be remote-mounted. Top- or side-mount expansion options are available. The DX100 conserves power during robot idle time, providing up to 25% energy savings.

Its extensive I/O suite includes integral PLC and HMI pendant displays, 2,048 I/O, and a graphical ladder editor that can provide an efficient system level control. The DX100 supports all major fieldbus networks and offers easy connection to an information infrastructure through standard network options for EtherNet/IP, DeviceNet, Profibus-DP, and others.

The DX100 controller is compliant to ANSI/RIA R15.06-1999, ISO 10218-1-2007, and other relevant safety standards. It includes dual-channel E-Stop functionality, integrated speed monitoring, and manual brake release for the robot. An optional third-party certified Functional Safety Unit provides user-defined zone control and axis limits, plus speed and stopped-state monitoring. By minimizing the robot’s restricted space, these features can be used to reduce the cell floor space requirements.

By often eliminating the need for a separate PLC and human machine interface (HMI), the DX100 controller delivers significant cost savings at the system level, while also decreasing workcell complexity and improving overall reliability.

The DX100 has a reducer status check function that facilitates predictive maintenance. It also provides enhanced troubleshooting and alarm recovery, and a 20% improvement in mean time to repair (MTTR).

Laser seam-tracking and seam-finding software packages enhance welding precision

Yaskawa Motoman MotoEye SF and LT laser seam-tracking and seam-finding software packages improve robotic arc welding applications. Courtesy: Yaskawa MotomanYaskawa Motoman MotoEye LT laser seam-tracking and the new MotoEye SF seam-finding software packages are for arc welding applications using Servo-Robot’s laser cameras. MotoEye SF is a high- speed Ethernet interface developed for Servo-Robot’s SF-D laser camera series. This package provides an easy-to-use instruction to read in data from the camera, including joint offset and joint geometry information. This information can be used to adapt the robot weld path and parameters for parts with varying location and fit-up. The seam-finding data can be combined with ComArc through-arc-seam-tracking sensor to provide preview adaptive capability for lower cost than the real-time laser tracking cameras.

MotoEye LT enables Motoman robots to precisely track weld joints at high speeds and in real time, even while the parts are turning on a coordinated positioner. The software provides significant advantages when welding circumferential welds around fuel tanks or similar vessels. Additionally, the software has adaptive capability to vary the weld conditions based on joint gap information from the sensor, resulting in precise, optimized, highly accurate welds.

MotoEye LT has been available for Motoman XRC and NX100 controllers, and has been enhanced for the DX100 controller. This latest version features a high-speed Ethernet interface between the DX100 controller and Servo-Robot’s RoboNet Master camera controller. User-friendly programming menus take advantage of features built into the DX100 controller programming pendant. The Servo-Robot laser cameras are designed to withstand the welding environment and are not affected by ambient lighting or material surface conditions.

Yaskawa Motoman participated in CareerTech Vision 2012

Yaskawa Motoman participated in CareerTech Vision 2012. Courtesy: Yaskawa MotomanYaskawa Motoman noted its participation in CareerTech Vision 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia (Nov. 29-Dec. 1, 2012). Together with partners in the Yaskawa Motoman Education Consortium (YMEC), Yaskawa Motoman demonstrated its STEM Robotics Platform, a self-contained portable workcell that is designed to give students hands-on experience with industrial robotics in a classroom setting. (STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math.) Erik Nieves, technology director said, "YMEC is focused on making students into work-ready technicians ready for day one on the job."

CareerTech Vision 2012 was designed by the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) to be an integral component of an overall professional learning plan. The format of VISION was created to meet individual professional growth needs and align with institutional strategic-improvement plans. Attendees from across the country and around the world were able to take advantage of a wide range of international partnerships, powerful business and industry connections, and critical certifications.

"CareerTech VISION allowed us to connect directly to technical schools and colleges seeking to add robotics to their curricula," explained Steve Holland, manager of the Motoman Technical Education Center (MTEC).

Yaskawa America Inc. expanded in Brazil

Motoman Robótica do Brasil and Yaskawa Eléctrico do Brasil Ltd., divisions of Yaskawa America, Inc. (YAI), jointly announced their expansion plans in the Sao Paulo area of Brazil. YAI’s parent company, Yaskawa Electric Corporation, said it is the world’s largest manufacturer of ac drives, motion control products, and industrial robots. The two divisions said they have outgrown their current separate facilities and will co-locate to a newly constructed, larger manufacturing campus in Diadema, featuring a 56,000-sq-ft manufacturing space, 38,000-sq-ft office space, and a 6,000-sq-ft training space, for a total space of over 100,000 sq ft, according to the July 2012 announcement. Both divisions will gain increased efficiencies and production capacity through co-locating, but will remain as independent divisions. Both divisions will be fully operational by mid-July. Approximately 150 employees will be located on the new campus.

“With expanded manufacturing and demonstration floor space, new training labs, and additional office space, the new infrastructure will provide even closer cooperation between our two divisions, allowing us to better serve our customers in this growing market,” stated Steve Barhorst, president and COO of Yaskawa America Inc., Motoman Robotics Division.

“The new location will allow us to serve our customers more efficiently while allowing us to collaborate on opportunities between our divisions to offer more solutions to our customers,” added Mike Knapek, president and COO, Drives and Motion Division.

Brazil is one of the fastest growing emerging economies in the world. With significant growth in automotive, agricultural, and mining equipment, in addition to food production and other manufacturing sectors, Brazil’s economy ranks highest among all South American countries with a strong position in global economy.

About Yaskawa Motoman: Founded in 1989, the Motoman Robotics Division of Yaskawa America Inc. said it is a leading robotics company in the Americas. With more than 250,000 Motoman robots installed globally, Yaskawa provides automation products and solutions for virtually every industry and robotic application; including arc welding, assembly, coating, dispensing, material handling, material cutting, material removal, packaging, palletizing, and spot welding.

- Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering, Plant Engineering, and Consulting-Specifying Engineer,

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