Compact multi-axis robotic system

24 June 2022

Beckhoff has introduced a new concept for robotics applications with ATRO, a modular system from which the right robot kinematics can be put together in a flexible way to suit any application.

A highlight of the system is said to be the internal media feed for data, power and fluids. This has been implemented in such a way that all axes are designed to rotate endlessly.

With ATRO, users can create almost any robot design from the modules provided – from a simple 1-axis rotary indexing table application and delta kinematics, through to multi-axis articulated robots. 

The direct integration of the robot system into PC-based control is said to enable a truly optimised complete solution for the machine or plant. This solution reduces the number of controls needed on one industrial PC, even with multiple robots.

ATRO kinematics are made up of active joints – the motor modules. The motor modules are available in different designs: straight modules in I-shape or angled modules in L-shape, which are designed in five power sizes. Each motor module forms a complete drive system for one axis of the robot. The only external components required are a power supply and a control, which significantly reduces the space required in the control cabinet. 

All modules are interconnected via the ATRO interface, which guarantees a rigid connection and also passes through the media that is fed in. Data, power and fluids (compressed air, vacuum or water) are guided internally through the modules in the ATRO kinematics. 

With ATRO, Beckhoff offers a flexible robot system that has all essential machine functionalities due to its integration with TwinCAT automation software This can offer image processing for sophisticated applications, improvement of motion performance through machine learning or direct cloud integration for analysis and maintenance. The use of open interfaces and universal standards enables plug-and-play of the created robot configuration as well as simple engineering. Concentrating all these functions in one control minimises hardware costs and ensures maximum synchronisation of components.

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