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Integrated interpolation functions boost machine performance

03 October, 2007

Siemens has demonstrated a method for integrating interpolation calculations into a motion controller, thus reducing the load on the system and improving machine performance. The development allows one controller to handle all machine functions.

Traditionally, handling equipment path movements have been implemented using cams simulated in a motion control system. This requires intensive computation and can restrict productivity, especially for highly automated machines with short cycle times.

The new "pathway interpolation" technology, unveiled at a packaging show in Germany last month, eliminates the need for cyclical calculation of cams and enhances machine performance. The technology supports linear, circular and polynomial interpolation on a main 2D plane, or in 3D space. The path movement is controlled and monitored directly by a Simotion controller.

Siemens says that the development will allow more than 180 2D and 3D pick-and-place cycles to be performed per minute. It also allows standard Cartesian gantry kinematics to be implemented using Scara robots, roll pickers and robots with articulated arms.

The path definition is independent of the selection and parameterisation of the kinematics and, when a machine needs to be modified or retrofitted, only the kinematics-related parameters need to be updated.

If extreme cycle times are not needed, the CPU power released can be used for other duties, such as using one processor to automate several handling modules. The use of an object-oriented approach allows several instances of the "path interpolation" technology to run simultaneously and several handling devices to be controlled simultaneously.

When used with Siemensí Simotion Top Loading software library, the integrated interpolation method is claimed to reduce engineering and programming effort. The library allows top-loading cells with various kinematics to be programmed and configured in combination with other software modules on one or more controllers. This avoids the need to use special robot programming languages or to synchronise with proprietary control architectures.

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