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Integrated control and synchronisation of up to four robots

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A Bosch Rexroth Indramotion MLC integrated motion, logic and robotic control unit is being used within the Cama Triaflex packaging machine to control and synchronise up to four delta-style robots, as well as other automation axes.

Integrated control and synchronisation of up to four robotsDemands for greater speed and efficiency spurred the American division of the Cama Group to develop an innovative packaging machine called the Triaflex. Designed specifically to handle chocolate bars, the Triaflex is based on a loading unit that can integrate up to four delta-style robots. The robots are all controlled by a single Bosch Rexroth Indramotion MLC integrated motion, logic and robotic control unit.

A single Triaflex delta robot achieves speeds of up to 120 cycles per minute. Through the simultaneous picking of several products using a 'multi picks' gripper system, the delta robot can handle up to 300 products per minute. The Triaflex system provides dynamic belt synchronisation to pick up and place products at speeds to 360 ft/min (1.8m/s). This also allows for the placement of individual products into secondary packages for overwrapping.

Unlike other systems on the market, the Triaflex multi-robot platform utilises a single controller for the entire machine, rather than using separate controllers for the individual robots. Cama matched its expertise with Rexroth's knowledge of the packaging industry to develop the innovations that resulted in a successful project for both parties, such as calculating several kinematics on one controller to enable several robots to be both controlled and synchronised.

Simplified communications

While all three Triaflex delta robots are operated by a single Rexroth IndraMotion MLC motion logic controller, even the operation of a fourth robot and two additional belt axes would be possible without any degradation in line performance. Multiple communication interfaces between individual robot controls are no longer necessary; in networks where more than one controller is involved, these interfaces are required to ensure the transmission of camera system information and the co-ordination of the robot units to prevent collisions.

Daniele Ballente, Cama's CEO, states: "There are many solutions in the market, but only Bosch Rexroth offered us the performance we felt we needed. Another factor is that with the drive and control technology from Rexroth we can not only realise robots, but we are also able to automate our complete machine portfolio, including cartoners and tertiary packaging machines."

The IndraMotion MLC control offers high computing power, scalability, and modularity. Up to 16 kinematics can be controlled simultaneously, each with a maximum of eight interpolating axes and up to four synchronous belts. In addition, machine manufacturers can implement their own kinematics quickly and easily. Rexroth's IndraMotion for Packaging makes it easy to integrate camera systems and programming with RCL (Robot Control Language) or IEC 61131 robotics function blocks. The company's standardised IndraWorks engineering software simplifies project planning, parameterising, programming, visualisation, and diagnostics of all Rexroth components.

Customer benefits

Cama believes that the ability to control multiple delta robots with the Rexroth motion logic control offered it a number of advantages. All functions are integrated in one control system, while the number of interfaces and component costs was cut. With the use of Rexroth's modular IndraDrive drive systems with dualaxis drives, the cabling effort was reduced by up to 40 per cent. In addition, space is saved: the footprint was cut by 50 per cent and the control cabinet size was reduced by 40 per cent. Consequently, Cama can install the entire Triaflex control system for three robots in one control cabinet. This helps to further reduce the costs for cabling and simplifies installation at the customer's plant.

Ballente adds: "The new compact loading unit with three integrated delta robots allows us to achieve the speed demanded by the end customer. And we save considerable space when compared to a solution consisting of delta robots connected in series, each with its own control cabinet."

Follow the link for more information about the Bosch Rexroth Indramotion MLC motion-logic controller.

 
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