Robotics: Higher speeds, more power, programming advances

Yaskawa Motoman high-speed robots, gateway that allows PLC programming and open programming support, two-arm robots, multi-language support, career fair, and expansion among Automate 2013 announcements.


Robotic announcements at Automate 2013, from Yaskawa Motoman, included a delta robot for high-speed packaging; robots for high-speed material handling, assembly, and packaging; a gateway that enables control and programming through a PLC; Dual-Arm SDA-series robots with 7-axis arms; high-performance robots; multiple language support; a compact robot controller that works with an open software architecture; and laser welding software that improves seam tracking and finding. Corporate announcements include support for students and expansion for drives, motion, and robotics divisions of Yaskawa America Inc. More on each announcement follows.

Yaskawa Motoman high-speed MPP3 Delta robot

Yaskawa Motoman high-speed MPP3 Delta robot is designed for high-speed and high-density installations, including packing and kitting, as shown at Automate 2013. Courtesy: Yaskawa MotomanThe delta-style Motoman MPP3 robot is designed for high-speed picking, packing, cartoning, and kitting applications. Its high-speed operation, 150 cycles per minute, yields extraordinary production results.

The MPP3 robot features a three-arm configuration with a direct-driven rotary axis to increase reliability at high speeds. Its long arms with shorter-arm radii provide a compact footprint and a deeper reach, while providing a large working envelope. The MPP3 robot is IP65 rated and features a 3 kg payload capacity, work envelope of 1300 mm diameter and 500 mm deep, and a repeatability of ±0.1 mm (±0.004 in.).

MPP3 is powered by the FS100 controller featuring a compact footprint and open software architecture for applicability in a wide variety of application arenas.

Motoman MH5, MH5L robots for high-speed material handling, assembly, packaging

Compact robots feature new “slim arm” design. They provide superior performance in small parts assembly and material handling, performing high-speed sorting. Courtesy: Yaskawa MotomanCompact and powerful Motoman MH5 and MH5L robots require minimal installation space and offer superior performance in small part handling applications, such as assembly, machine tending, packaging, and dispensing. Internally routed cables and hoses maximize system reliability, reduce interference, and facilitate programming. The 6-axis MH5 and MH5L robots yield extraordinary production results while requiring minimal capital investment.

The MH5 model features a 706 mm (27.8-in.) reach and offers the widest work envelope in its class. When a larger work envelope is required, the MH5L model provides an 895 mm (35.2-in.) reach while maintaining its 5 kg payload capacity. The MH5 and MH5L robots have brakes on all axes and can be floor-, wall-, or ceiling-mounted for layout flexibility. The small footprint and minimal interference radius (179 mm/7-in.) optimizes floor-space utilization.

MH5 and MH5L robots are available with the Motoman DXM100, FS100, and MLX100 Robot Gateway controllers. The DXM100 controller is used for process-intensive applications, and the new smaller FS100 controller is designed for high-speed handling applications. The MLX100 Robot Gateway, designed for assembly and material handling applications, enables the control and programming of Motoman robots directly from the Rockwell Automation ControlLogix platform.

MLX100 Robot Gateway: Control and program through PLC

The Motoman MLX100 Robot Gateway enables control and programming of Motoman robots from the Rockwell Automation ControlLogix platform.

“We are excited about the MLX100 Robot Gateway and what it means for the wider adoption of robotics in the consumer packaging industry,” said Roger Christian, Yaskawa Motoman vice president, marketing and development. “The ability to program the robot from within [Rockwell Automation] RSLogix software opens new possibilities for packaging machine OEMs and end users. Using PAC / PLC language, the MLX100 allows users to program, deploy, and support robotic system solutions utilizing their existing in-house PAC/PLC expertise."

Erik Nieves, technology director, added, “The MLX100 robot gateway is a best-in-class modular architecture that leverages the strength of the Rockwell Programmable Automation Controller (PAC) for logic and control, along with Yaskawa’s advanced kinematics and robot manipulators. The result of our UnifiedControl approach is a scalable system that allows for programming of robots in the Yaskawa family. The power of the MLX100 is not limited to just palletizing robots, but is applicable to packaging robots and even multiple robots on the same controller. The MLX100 brings robotics to any company using [Rockwell Automation] RSLogix 5000 today.”

A multitude of applications are possible on the MLX100 platform, including applications requiring vision guidance and conveyor tracking.

Yaskawa Motoman is a member of the Rockwell Automation PartnerNetwork as an Encompass Product Partner. Christian said, “This partnership continues to broaden our ‘team with the best’ strategy for the benefit of our customers.”

Dual-Arm SDA-Series robots: Next-generation speed, application flexibility

SDA10 dual-arm robot features enhanced, “human-like” flexibility and 15 axes of motion. It is compatible with the compact FS100 controller. The robot was programmed to play blackjack with Automate 2013 attendees. Courtesy: Yaskawa MotomanQuick and agile, with “human-like” flexibility of movement, the Motoman Slim Dual Arm (SDA-series) robots provide the reach, payload, speed, performance, and flexibility required to perform a myriad of assembly, handling, machine tending, packaging, and part transfer applications that formerly could be done only by people. SDA-series robots feature 15 axes of motion (7 axes per arm, plus a single axis for base rotation). Internally routed cables and hoses reduce interference and maintenance, and also make programming easier.

Both robot arms can work together on one task to double the payload or handle heavy, unwieldy parts, trays, or pallets. The robot can also lift much more than its payload capacity when using a jib crane or other lift assist device.

The ability to use dual independent arms to process parts reduces the need for expensive custom fixturing and makes end-of-arm tooling simple and less costly. SDA-series dual-arm robots can hold a part with one arm while performing operations on the part with the other arm. Parts can be turned over by a simple hand-to-hand transfer with no need to set the part down or add additional hardware.

The actuator-based design of the SDA-series robots means that the motor, encoder, reducer, and brake for each robot axis are combined into one small, lightweight yet powerful package that is significantly smaller than a traditional ac servo motor drive. Advantages include a slim arm profile, lightweight robot body, and high wrist moment and inertia ratings attractive to service and entertainment applications.

SDA-series robots are available with the new FS100 controller or the DX100 controller. The FS100 is Yaskawa Motoman’s new compact, powerful, and open controller that is designed for small parts handling and assembly applications. 

SIA-Series Robots: Lean, powerful 7-axis arms

SIA10 (Slim Individual Arm) robot features a revolutionary actuator-based 7-axis design, and it is compatible with the compact FS100 controller. Courtesy: Yaskawa MotomanMotoman Slim Individual Arm (SIA-series) robots feature what the company calls a revolutionary actuator-based 7-axis design, allowing arms to maneuver in very tight areas. Featuring best-in-class wrist performance, these versatile robots open up a wide range of industrial applications and are ideal for nut running, assembly, injection molding, machine tending, and a host of other applications, Motoman said.

Extreme motion flexibility allow these slim manipulators to be positioned out of the normal working area (such as floor-, ceiling-, wall-, incline- or machine-mounted) and reduce floor space requirements.

SIA5, SIA10, and SIA20 models are now compatible with the new FS100 controller. The FS100 is Yaskawa Motoman’s new small, powerful, and open controller that is designed for small parts handling and assembly applications. The FS100 is small enough to be mounted under a conveyor or in other space-saving locations.

At Automate 2013, the SIA10 robot performed collaborative assembly. This new application demonstrates the ability of robots and humans to share space and perform cooperative work in a safe manner and conforms to safety standards.

Motoman HP-Series high-performance robots excel in many applications

High-performance robots (HP20D robot shown) excel at a wide variety of applications. Now they are also compatible with the compact FS100 controller. The HP20D was used in the packaging and kitting demonstration at the Yaskawa Motoman booth at Automate 201With payloads from 20-600 kg, Yaskawa Motoman’s dynamic, high-speed HP-series “High-Performance” robots are extremely versatile manipulators that excel at a wide variety of applications, including welding and machine tending. HP-series robots can also be used for assembly, packaging, palletizing, dispensing, and other tasks. Full six-axis flexibility also allows them to perform complex handling motions and other operations in a multi-function workcell. Heavier-payload models are often used in jigless applications where the HP robot serves as a highly flexible positioner, manipulating the part for processing by up to seven additional robots—all controlled by one Motoman multiple robot controller.

HP-series robots are compact and require minimal installation space. They can be placed close together to reduce overall floor space requirements or placed close to conveyors and other equipment to improve part/product accessibility. HP robots can be floor-, ceiling-, or shelf-mounted to provide highly flexible layouts, and extended-reach versions are available.

HP-series robots are controlled by the Motoman DX100 controller that includes patented multiple robot control technology to easily handle multiple tasks and control up to eight robots (72 axes), I/O devices, and communication protocols. Featuring a robust PC architecture with unmatched memory capacity, the DX100 uses a Microsoft Windows CE programming pendant with color touchscreen. The energy-saving DX100 controller features faster processing speeds for smoother interpolation, advanced robot arm motion, built-in collision avoidance, quicker I/O response, and accelerated Ethernet communication. Its extensive I/O suite includes integral PLC and HMI pendant displays, 2,048 I/O, and a graphical ladder editor that can provide system level control. The DX100 controller supports all major fieldbus networks. It is compliant to ANSI/RIA R15.06-1999 and other relevant ISO and CSA safety standards.

The HP20 robot (20 kg) can also be controlled by the FS100, a compact, powerful, and open software architecture controller.

See next page link below to read about advances in robotic programming, controllers, robotic welding, career development, and Yaskawa expansion, along with more photos.

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