Omron announces 'robotic integrated controller'
Omron has announced the launch of what it says is the world’s first ‘robotic integrated controller’. The NJ501-R is based on Omron’s NJ series of machine controllers for industrial automation. The company says the integrated controller makes it possible to automate advanced and complex manual work, simulate the design and modification of production facilities in a virtual environment, and conduct maintenance remotely.
The machine controller offers real-time synchronisation between all automation equipment, including robots, vision components, drives and safety equipment. Improving the speed and accuracy of production, users can simulate entire production lines without having to deploy physical equipment. The company says this will simplify maintenance and reduce time to market during the design, planning, commissioning and changeover processes.
Many industries are facing labour shortage issues, and the world is experiencing a major turning point with how society conducts business due to new global health concerns. As a result, the demand for more advanced automation with robots has increased, along with a growing demand for digitalisation.
Traditionally, automation equipment for production facilities has been controlled by a number of different controllers, creating a major challenge to set up and coordinate the speed and timing between various devices. Also, it was very difficult to verify a process design in advance and with a high level of accuracy prior to construction of a machine or larger production line. After the equipment is commissioned, adjustments need to be made onsite — backtracking and specification changes are common, resulting in additional man-hours.
Integration of control and the construction process
The robotic integrated controller automates inserting and assembling processes that require delicate and skilful processing.
The robots and equipment are controlled and fully synchronised in real time by a single controller, improving device performance and achieving a higher level of throughput.
Omron has also unified the programming languages for robot and machine control, making it easy to simulate a production line with single programming software. The system visualises the process, reducing man-hours for process design and operational verification by up to 50%. All of this can also be conducted remotely. Through Sysmac Studio’s user interface, users can design, program, troubleshoot, operate and maintain future automation systems locally or remotely.
The programming language for the PLC and robot is unified in the generic IEC language, which gives engineers who typically manage PLCs the ability to also manage robots as well. With the simulation technology, users can verify equipment performance at the early stage of equipment design, allowing mechanical designers and electrical designers to design in parallel.
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