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Cartesian robots: compatible with any programming language

Cartesian robot grips building blocks

It is quite common for a customer to request another Cartesian handling system at short notice for the machine that they have ordered which is already at the assembly stage. The additional request means extra business which is great but the electrical design engineer wonders where they’re going to find the necessary space in the control cabinet which has already been fitted out. The young engineer who started last month could do the programming but isn’t trained in PLC programming as this is no longer taught at universities. We took precisely these kinds of considerations into account when we developed ctrlX AUTOMATION: minimum space, reduced engineering effort and compatibility with modern programming languages in order to automate cartesian systems more quickly and easily than ever before.

75% of the global working population are millennials who have all grown up with the internet and smartphones at their fingertips. This generation has different expectations when it comes to the handling of technology. This applies to machine operators just as it does to engineers working at machine manufacturers. PLC programming is hardly ever taught at universities these days. Young programmers work with high-level languages and scripting languages or visual programming environments. They are also working less and less with PCs and laptops and instead use mobile end devices such as tablets and smartphones.

Why is this important? It is important because automation has so far largely ignored these trends. ctrlX AUTOMATION is the first automation platform that has caught up with this generation and provides modern, up-to-date engineering. First of all, using ctrlX CORE (the control system integrated into the drive), ctrlX AUTOMATION focuses on robotics and handling. Cartesian robots are used almost universally for loading and unloading plastics machines and machine tools in logistics and in general automation.

Up to 50% more compact

The new ctrlX DRIVE generation of drives saves up to 50% space in the control cabinet. A prototype customer, for example, installed a 3-axis handling system on a width of just 100 mm. The drives are not only designed to be smaller but also replace previously required additional components thanks to the high number of functions integrated into them. The drives can be extended in 50-mm rasters with single and double-axis controllers. Thanks to the shared DC-bus, ctrlX DRIVE increases the energy efficiency and design engineers can reduce the installed power. Less space and a lower weight are particularly important in handling as the drives often travel with the axes. The lower the mass is that needs to be moved, the less power that is required.

The operation of the system solution also meets the expectations of the new generation: standard 10-inch tablets can be integrated thanks to a specially developed mounting which features a three-stage enabling switch. This means that cost-effective operation can be achieved. Operators can access the web server of the ctrlX AUTOMATION control system and directly teach new movements.

Engineering effort significantly reduced

We are particularly proud of the fact that ctrlX AUTOMATION reduces the engineering effort by up to 50%. Machine manufacturers can program the motion sequences in the PLC languages as usual in accordance with IEC 61131. However, they can also work with C/C++ or use the visual programming environment Blockly. As such, they can, for example, switch between Blockly and text languages at any time. The software consistently takes all inputs from the programming language independently. As such, any technician can carry out the initial commissioning, even if they don’t have any PLC knowledge.

All typical handling movements are pre-defined in ctrlX MOTION. The individual carrying out the commissioning can select electronic gantry, point-to-point, linear or circular movements, combine movements and define safety zones. An integrated collision prevention system already protects the handling system during programming. Smart apps such as vibration damping also improve dynamics and productivity. ctrlX IOT controls the seamless connection with superior IT systems. The fact that ctrlX CORE is so open and compatible means that machine manufacturers can also easily integrate their own motion control as an app and add extensions by means of additional functions that they have created in-house.

Let’s get back to the machine manufacturer who needs to add another handling system to the customer’s machine at short notice. ctrlX AUTOMATION means that they have the most compact solution on the market and the electrical design engineer doesn’t have to think so long and hard about the control cabinet. And the young colleague doesn’t have to wait for the PLC training and can start work straight away on the programming and initial commissioning – even virtually, before the first axis has even been installed.

 

If you have any questions or require further information regarding ctrlX AUTOMATION, please contact us:

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Andreas Gryglewski

Game Changer
Consumer Goods & Handling

 

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New freedom in engineering

Find out how ctrlX AUTOMATION helps you to put individual solutions into operation much faster and to program functions easily and flexibly in any language.

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