Comau teams to simplify robot control with a single PLC

Comau teams to simplify robot control with a single PLC

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Industrial automation specialist Comau in Italy is demonstrating the first results of its recent collaboration with Rockwell Automation on a unified robot control system.

Comau, a subsidiary of European car giant Stellantis, is integrating Rockwell Automation components and Comau robotic equipment using one existing programmable logic controller (PLC) for controlling both the automation logic and the robotic application. This eliminates the need for additional robot programming skills related to using additional programming languages required by other robotic systems.

Connecting the Kinetix drives and GuardLogix 5580  controller from Rockwell Automation allows the synchronization of robots, machine flows and peripherals, and results in faster deployment times and shorter recovery speeds (MTTR). Companies of all sizes can control one or more robots via their existing PLC, eliminating the need for a dedicated controller for every robot. Kontron and Arduino recently launched their own PLCs for automation.

This means the automation needs fewer components, less footprint and lower energy consumption, reduces the supply chain complexity and improves serviceability.

The two companies started working together last year and are showing the unified PLC robotic system at the Automation Fair in the US next week. This combines Comau’s articulated robots with the unified robot control platform by Rockwell Automation.

“The first concrete results of Comau’s ongoing collaboration with Rockwell Automation are allowing us to simplify the design, programming and management of high-performance robotic applications,” said Nicole Clement, Chief Marketing Officer at Comau.

“The integration of Comau’s robots with such a widely used unified PLC environment has allowed us to develop a powerful palletizing and depalletizing solution for the food industry that can be easily deployed at our customer sites, helping improve their productivity while reducing infrastructure costs,” said Horia Saulean of customer DCC Automation.

“Manufacturers are being called on to act faster and be more flexible than ever. The unified robot control partnership with Comau represents a leap in making this possible.” Said Bill Kegley, Director of automation software supplier, Business Management Motion.

“With one control system that handles the automation of the entire machine, including robot and independent cart technologies we can make them easier to program, operate and support. Additionally, it is now easier than ever to amplify the productivity of systems using Comau robots by testing and virtual commissioning using Emulate3D software,” he said.

Comau has signed a deal with battery startup ItalVolt to supply automation equipment for the factory it is building in northern Italy.

Last month Comau also demonstrated the integration of Siemens’ PLC and SIMATIC Robot Library with the Profinet protocol robotic control.  

Creating a single programming environment based on the PLC simplifies the management of automation on multiple levels; from the handling of a single robotic arm, to the integration between robot and automatic machine, to the automation of an entire work line.

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