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Festo Adds Motion Control to Universal Robots’ Cobots

The Festo Motion Control Package can add up to four axes of motion beyond the six axes of motion provided by Universal Robot’s collaborative robot products.

With the Festo Motion Control Package, a seventh axis can be added to a Universal Robot cobot for a range of applications, including palletizing. Source: Festo.
With the Festo Motion Control Package, a seventh axis can be added to a Universal Robot cobot for a range of applications, including palletizing. Source: Festo.

Robots with six axes of motion are commonly considered to have the highest level of axes available for articulated robots and cobots (collaborative robots). One well-known addition to this is a seventh axis that is sometimes added to move a robot between work cells.

To expand further upon the range of robot motion axes, Festo has developed a new multi-axis system for Universal Robots’ cobots. According to Festo, this system, which is certified by Universal Robots (UR), can add up to four axes of motion beyond the cobot’s six axes.

Festo Motion Control Package can control turning tables, automatic storage systems, conveyors, and transfer tables.Festo Motion Control Package can control turning tables, automatic storage systems, conveyors, and transfer tables.The multi-axis system features the Festo Motion Control Package (FMCP) for UR—a motion control panel for controlling up to four axes of motion. In addition to its capability to control a seventh axis used for linear transfer of the robot, the FMCP can control turning tables, automatic storage systems, conveyors, and transfer tables.

A seventh axis provided for by the FMCP can be used for extending the range of action for a UR cobot in applications such as palletizing and machine tending. Festo’s EGC belt-driven or ball-screw linear axes, which can be used with FMCP, come equipped with a cobot mounting plate. Standard EGC axes are available in lengths of up to 8 meters with up to 10 meter axes available by request. 

The Festo Motion Control Package is integrated with Universal Robots' cobot control panel.The Festo Motion Control Package is integrated with Universal Robots' cobot control panel.The FMCP is integrated with the UR cobot control panel and HMI and features a UR safety I/O and communications interface. Festo adds that the FMCP includes extra space within the panel for future expansion and brackets for wall mounting to reduce its footprint.   

In keeping with UR’s no programming needed to set up and operate their robots, the FMCP also does not require a user to have any programming skills to set it up and no additional PLC is required. The multiple axes of motion are configured through the UR HMI. Festo says users only need to set position, speed, and acceleration on the HMI or, using the URCap toolbar, move the axes in manual mode to configure the robot’s motion.

A range of vacuum, mechanical, and Magswitch magnetic grippers, including the cobot smart gripper E30, can be used with FMCP. Festo says automatic tool changers are also available.

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