Many production processes involve robots operating on items on a conveyor belt, but in many cases the belt must come to a halt while the robot works, then re-start when the operation is done. Things would run much faster if the conveyor belt and robot could be synchronized; the robot would work while the item goes past, with the belt never stopping. The question is, how can that be done? Ensuring the high levels of speed and precision needed to accomplish this used to require highly complex control solutions. These PLCopen function blocks can be used for tasks ranging from simple sorting to complex product processing on running conveyor belts. The function blocks work with all types of robot kinematics and even allow robots to be synchronized with multiple conveyor belts. The interfaces are also suitable for integrating HMI applications for all types of kinematic systems. The robot can move freely during the synchronization phase, which also enables complex product manipulation. A special feature is that the conveyor belt is fully integrated in the application. An external sensor that supplies information about the current position of the conveyor belt is all that is needed. And the system works with different drive systems with different kinematics: the robot can be replaced or the conveyor belts upgraded at any time.
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B&R Industrial Automation