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CNC has built-in robot kinematics to simplify machining

15 September, 2017

Siemens has entered into a cooperative arrangement with the Italian robot-maker Comau to integrate robot kinematics with its CNC systems. At the 2017 Emo machine tool show in Hanover this month, the two companies are unveiling a jointly engineered product called Sinumerik Run MyRobot /DirectControl which, they say, will improve productivity, flexibility, dynamic responses and precision.

In this product, a Sinumerik CNC system controls the articulated robot arm directly using complex algorithms, without needing a separate robot controller. As well as controlling the robot arm drive, it contains safety functions typically performed by robot controllers. The robot is programmed solely using Sinumerik.

Integrating the robot controls with CNC control loops is said to improve path and positioning accuracy, as well as reliability. It also enhances dynamic responses during robot-aided machining tasks. As a result, the robot can take on more challenging machining assignments, and users can benefit from compact hardware, simple engineering, and quick commissioning.

The /DirectControl technology performs all of the functions previously assigned to robot control systems, without the need for a separate robot controller. It also performs the same functions as the previous Run MyRobot variants. The new version not only supports more dynamic robot applications, but also results in tighter control, and improves the capacity for robot operations to run in parallel with machining time.

Siemens’ Sinumerik RunMyRobot /DirectControl system acts as a single controller for both machine tools and Comau robot arms

To simplify the engineering process, configuration for all /DirectControl-supported robot arms is stored in Siemens’s Sizer engineering tool. Data-sets for the relevant robot mechanics are supplied by Comau and imported into a Sinumerik CNC channel, simplifying commissioning.

Digital twins are available for /DirectControl-compatible Comau robot arms to allow work in NX CAM robotics. The 3D kinematic robot model and the Sinumerik VNCK virtual NC kernel allow sub-programs generated in the CAD-CAM chain to be simulated realistically. Other benefits include a reduced footprint due to the elimination of hardware components, lower capital costs, reduced stocking costs for spare parts, and greater availability due to an improved MTBF (mean time between failures).

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