Panel Builder System Integrator

January 2, 2019

By Mike Wagner, Rockwell Automation

For today’s manufacturers, a flexible plant floor is a business imperative. As product SKUs continue to increase, manufacturing equipment simply must be more agile to accommodate more product variations – faster than ever before.

To meet the needs of flexible “high mix, low volume” production environments, more OEMs are moving away from fixed mechanical systems and developing innovative ways to incorporate robotic technology. This trend is particularly prevalent in material handling, pick-and-place and assembly applications.

Why? Traditional systems operate on a single horizontal plane and are based on fixed variables associated with handling a large volume of the same or similar product. On the other hand, robotic technology, which tends to mimic human motion, enables movement within the entire 3D work envelope.

This ability to break the plane and operate fully in three dimensions is a game changer. “Pick” and “place” options can be infinitely variable – and can include horizontal and vertical elevations. The robot determines the appropriate path. No complex mechanical rerouting is required. 

And thanks to customizable and interchangeable end effectors, the same robot can handle a wide range of product shapes and sizes.

Conventional Challenges

Machine builders certainly recognize the advantages of robotics and the manufacturing demand for it. But until recently, incorporating robotic technology cost-effectively has been difficult.

Historically, OEMs relied on third-party robot suppliers, who provided equipment that ran on custom high-end processors distinct from the control platform running the remainder of the machine. Programming the robot often required a skill set that was outside the purview of the OEM staff. And since two control platforms were involved, integrating the robotic application with upstream and downstream processes was cumbersome.

Simpler, Better Programming

The latest robotic technology has changed the equation for OEMs. The truth is, contemporary robots are oftentimes simpler to program than traditional mechanical systems, thanks to machine learning technologies.

For example, “imitation learning,” enables a robot to replicate a task it is shown. I was recently involved in a case packaging application that used this technique to full extent. To teach the robot to pick, lift and place the product in the case, we simply moved the robotic arm to the three appropriate locations.

The robot controller interpolates the information and generates its own path or plan for movement. In other words, the path plan – and about 80 percent of the robotic programming required – is automatically generated.

Depending on the complexity and variability of the application, vision-guided or collaborate robots can be deployed and programmed using similar machine learning techniques.

Transformative Control Technology

While machine learning has simplified robotic programming, the latest programmable automation controller (PAC) technology represents a transformational turning point for OEMs. Thanks to enhanced processor speed and performance, robotic applications can now run on the standard PACs that control the rest of the machine.

For example, this PAC features a processor that can provide up to 45 percent more capacity than previous generations to meet the high-speed communications and motion control demands of robotics.

Equally important, OEMs can achieve the advanced safety functionality required for robotic applications within the PAC platform – and standardize their approach to safety across the entire machine.

Of course, using a single, unified platform for both robotic and machine control speeds OEM equipment development, integration and deployment. In addition, OEMs can more easily extend innovation across their complete portfolio and take more control over all aspects of their machinery. 

Each year, we are seeing more machine builders take advantage of a unified control platform to develop flexible robotic equipment – and optimize lifecycle management. Take a look at this example.

And learn more about how machine builders are using the latest technology to develop innovative machines.

Changing Scene

  • Prev
Under the motto “We automate. Safely”, for Pilz the main feature of this year’s ...
JMP Solutions, industrial technology partner to the Fortune 1000, has announced they achieved the ...
  Amid rapid digitization of manufacturing, machine builders (OEMs) need to provide a ...
“HANNOVER MESSE 2019 showed that it is the world’s most important platform for all ...
At Hannover Messe 2019, European companies from the mechanical engineering, industrial ...
Electro-Federation Canada (EFC) and its members are proud to support the next generation of leaders ...
 Proax invites you to attend their Automation Exhibition on March 28th, 2019 from 10am to 4pm ...
 E.B. Horsman & Son (EBH) is a 2019 winner of the Canada’s Best Managed ...

One of Canada’s largest wastewater treatment plants at Annacis Island provides secondary treatment to approximately 175 billion litres of wastewater every year for over 1 million residents in 14 municipalities. After almost 20 years in operation, the variable frequency drives supporting the critical pumping systems for the primary treatment and secondary treatment facilities had to be replaced to ensure that the plant’s high operational availability and reliability will not be compromised in serving the plant, the surrounding municipalities and the environment. Metro Vancouver Regional District chose to deploy Rittal’s enclosure and power distribution solutions with E-plan software to efficiently support vital infrastructure improvements by reducing equipment replacement times and thereby minimizing risk to plant operations.

PB 25 Phoenix ControlCabinet 400

Phoenix Contact will provide you with support as your reliable partner in the optimization of your processes in control cabinet manufacturing.

Phoenix Contact provides you with holistic solutions in a cooperative partnership, based on their products, services, and experience. Digital data is used consistently, processes optimized, and time saved. The PROJECT complete planning and marking software supports your entire control cabinet manufacturing process. The program provides you with an intuitive user interface that enables you to individually plan, automatically check, and order terminal strips.

Thanks to optimized interfaces, you can easily integrate data from common CAE systems. This enables you to save significant amounts of time in the overall engineering process. Read More


 Like many cyclical industries, mining is reviving, driven by steady global economic growth and an increasing demand for materials to support new technologies like electric vehicles, renewable energy and mobile devices. Despite the optimism, the industry still faces major operational challenges including process efficiencies, cost control, worker health and safety, and skills gaps. To address these challenges, Rockwell Automation introduced The Connected Mine, leveraging the latest enabling and digital technologies.

Utilizing advanced analytics, The Connected Mine helps mining companies collect and aggregate data to gain end-to-end visibility into their operations and make informed business decisions to improve mining operations.

Read More

Rockwell SleemanTen years ago, tourists looking for a taste of the local life in Southern Canada may have asked for one of the region’s best wines. Today, it’s all about craft beer.

From entrepreneurial newcomers to large-scale producers, brewers in Canada are cashing in on the thirst for craft beer. The number of microbreweries – ­producing less than 25,000 cases of 24 – has more than doubled in the last seven years.

The explosion in craft beer popularity had one company – Sleeman Breweries – bursting at its production seams. The third-largest brewer in Canada, Sleeman brews and distributes popular beers from lagers to pale ales.

 Read More

 

PB 25 Rittal MarineWaves 400For almost a half a century Canal Marine & Industrial of St Catharines, Ontario has provided electrical design, engineering and services around the clock to the merchant marine, naval and coastguard fleets in Canada and the rest of the World. In recent years, Canal has become a leader in the design and supply of marine hybrid power and propulsion systems. These systems utilize alternative methods for supporting propulsion and the vessel’s electrical power plant, so that fuel consumption and emissions are reduced.

Great Lakes Towing of Cleveland, Ohio (popularly called “The Towing Company”) operates the largest and most experienced U.S.-flag tugboat fleet.  Read More

 

HARTING Ellectronics: Circular Connectors – A Round Thing

Circular Connectors 400

Jonas Diekmann, Technical Editor at HARTING Electronics

The metric system of units was introduced for the first time in 1793 during the French Revolution and is used even today in almost all countries worldwide. The metric round plug connectors are also based on this system of units and are a known standard in raw industrial applications. In various diameters and codes, they are a reliable connection for the three lifelines of industrial applications. Data, signals and performance are essential for drive, control and communication. The typical round appearance with the thread for screwing in is a success story up to the present. But classics often also still reveal unexpected potential. With its new PushPull Locking and Com-Lock HARTING is making two round guild models ready for the future.

 Read More

Product News

  • Prev
Industry-leading automation solution provider Omron Automation Americas recently announced the ...
B&R's latest addition to its Compact-S series is a compact controller with an ...
Phoenix Contact is adding a customized solution for impedance-sensitive signal circuits with more ...
You can wire conductor cross sections of up to 185 mm² very quickly using the PTPOWER 185 ...
With the new active redundancy module from Phoenix Contact, you will increase the availability of ...
HARTING, HIROSE and FLUKE networks announced the availability of an adapter supporting the ix ...
Three new sizes of INTEGRA Premium Series polycarbonate enclosures with lift-off screw cover, ...
Siemens Smart Infrastructure expands the proven Gamma instabus building system with new IP routers ...
Schneider Electric, the leader in digital transformation of energy management and automation, today ...
FLIR Systems, Inc.introduces FLIR Thermal Studio, a thermal image analysis and reporting software ...
Kerrwil Publications

538 Elizabeth Street, Midland,Ontario, Canada L4R2A3 +1 705 527 7666
©2019 All rights reserved

Use of this Site constitutes acceptance of our Privacy Policy (effective 1.1.2016)
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Kerrwil