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Rockwell and Comau offer a single interface for integrating robots

05 May, 2021

Rockwell Automation and the Italian robot-maker Comau have teamed up to offer industrial customers easier, smarter, and more productive ways to design, deploy, and manage robot applications. The development will allow engineers to program entire machines, including Comau robot arms, in a single environment controlled via Rockwell Logix-based controllers. They will also be able to use Rockwell’s Studio 5000 design software to simplify the time-consuming, and often difficult task, of coordinating traditionally separate machine control and robot systems.

Machine-builders, systems integrators, and others will be able to use digital engineering tools such as Rockwell’s Emulate 3D digital twin software to create digital models of production lines including Comau robots, and to auto-generate machine control code.

“Industrial companies are looking for efficient ways to integrate robotics into their operations for process optimisation and agility,” says Rockwell’s chairman and CEO, Blake Moret, who believes that the collaboration with Comau “will simplify programming and lifecycle management, accelerating time-to-value for our customers.”

Rockwell and Comau (which is owned by Stellantis, formerly Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) say that their combined technologies will offer benefits beyond enhanced integration. For example, end-users will be able to use analytics and digital twin tools to gain deeper insights into machine performance and production optimisation. They can also use safety and security systems to reduce business risks.

Operators on factory floors will be able to use Rockwell’s FactoryTalk software to view both line and robot control systems via a single interface. In-plant and remote technicians will only need to learn and maintain one architecture to monitor both systems. They can also use Rockwell’s augmented reality (AR) tools to improve maintenance.

Rockwell products and technologies encompassed by the collaboration include control systems, servodrives, HMI software, digital twin software, and AR tools for remote collaboration and information capture.

Comau’s portfolio includes more than 40 different industrial robot and cobot arms, with load capacities from 3-650kg. It also supplies automation components.

• Comau UK has developed and deployed a semi-automated battery module and battery pack assembly line for the publicly-funded UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) in Coventry. The line is the first battery manufacturing equipment to be commissioned at the 18,500m2 centre, which is part of the UK’s Faraday Battery Challenge programme, designed to fast-track the development of cost-effective, high-performance, durable, safe and recyclable batteries. Comau technology is managing the entire process from cell preparation and pouch cell stacking to battery pack assembly. The flexible line will allow UKBIC to manufacture a variety of battery modules and packs, without needing major process or site changes. It can be scaled to handle bigger production volumes, if needed.

Comau is supplying robots and other automation equipment for the first line to be commissioned at the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre in Coventry.

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