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Rockwell and Fanuc announce global collaboration

11 September, 2014

Rockwell Automation, the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation, and Fanuc, the world’s largest company in CNC and robots, have announced a global collaboration agreement aimed at achieving more seamless integrated manufacturing.

The two companies have expanded an earlier collaboration agreement, started four years ago in the CNC and PAC (programmable automation controller) areas, with further integration of their robotic, Robomachine and enterprise software portfolios. Robomachines are Fanuc’s robotic machining centres, which include injection moulding, vertical milling and EDM (electrical discharge machining) systems.

The main initial impact of the new collaboration is expected be in the automotive industry, where users will benefit from integrated plug-and-play automation and information. Rockwell and Fanuc predict that the benefits will include simplified architectures, faster start-ups, improved synchronisation between platforms, reduced maintenance, improved productivity and transparent access to data across manufacturing enterprises.

“The global collaboration between Rockwell Automation and Fanuc is a direct response to our customers’ needs for more effective integration across manufacturing disciplines,” explains Rockwell’s chairman and CEO, Keith Nosbusch. “Integrating Fanuc CNC, robot and Robomachine portfolios with our integrated control and information solutions will result in better manufacturing agility, to help customers achieve a secure, connected enterprise.”

Fanuc’s president and CEO, Dr Eng Yoshiharu Inaba adds that his company has already been offering flexible open interfaces to complementary automation systems. “However, Fanuc and Rockwell Automation together agree that our globally shared customer base wants a completely integrated automation solution. So, I am proud to announce this advanced global collaboration with Rockwell Automation that allows us to offer a preferred integration solution to our customers around the world.”

The two companies have been demonstrating examples of how their collaboration will work at the IMTS show in the US this week. These demonstrations included:

•   an integrated automotive machining cell incorporating Fanuc Robodrills, powered by its own CNCs and integrated with a Rockwell Logix PAC, with a Fanuc robot loading and unloading the Robodrills;

The collaboration between Fanuc and Rockwell Automation will include closer ties between Fanuc robots and Rockwell controllers and software

•  a Fanuc robot operated using a Rockwell HMI and industrial PC which supports Fanuc 4D;

•  a fenceless Fanuc robot system using Rockwell safety sensors; and

•  independent control of multiple pallets for component assembly using Rockwell’s iTrak intelligent track system integrated with a Fanuc robot.

There were also demonstrations of using HMIs and mobile devices to provide live access to machining data from a Fanuc factory in Japan, and Rockwell Logix PAC and FactoryTalk View and VantagePoint software gathering machining data from Fanuc CNCs in four separate locations.

Similar demonstrations are planned around the world at events including the Jimtof show in Japan and Rockwell’s Automation Fair in California in November.

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