Connecting robot cells to any industrial network

19 February 2013

Svensk Industriautomation in Sweden is using Anybus X-gateways to connect its DeviceNet-based robot cells to any network requested by customers.

Vision systems produced by Svensk Industriautomation (SVIA) are put together to robot cells which are able to communicate with other systems in a factory.

The company’s Pickvision vision system forms the core of the robot cell. It detects exactly how a particular object is placed on a conveyor belt and thereby enables a robot to pick up the object. Anders Mandorsson, designer and project manager at SVIA, said: “It is very easy to tell the robot what to pick from the carrier belt, and then you are ready to go.” By using the Pickvision software, users take a picture of the object which is to be picked from the belt. The software automatically detects the shape of the object and every time this shape shows up in the camera, the robot is able to determine how to pick it up.

Most automation systems today need to communicate with some kind of plant-wide industrial network and this type of communication is not always hassle-free. “A couple of years ago, we built a robot cell for a customer who promised me access to their PROFIBUS system, but after a while, it became clear that our system was only to be a separate node in their network. That’s when we found Anybus X-gateways from HMS. We tried installing one into our cabinet and it handled the conversion between our DeviceNet based system and the customer’s PROFIBUS system in a very elegant way,” said Mandorsson.

Today the company uses Anybus X-gateways in many of its robot. “DeviceNet is the standard we use in most of our cabinets and instead of handling the conversion to other networks ourselves, we simply install an X-gateway from HMS. It is cheaper, but above all, it makes it easier for the customer since he gets a clear segregation between our system and his own factory network,” explains Mandorsson.

Robot cells from SVIA usually come with ABB robots which operate on a DeviceNet based network. The robots can easily communicate with another DeviceNet network, but if they are to be connected to another network, for example a PROFIBUS network or an EtherCAT network a ‘translator’ is needed. Anybus X-gateways handle the conversion between the two networks through built-in software which restructures the telegrams from one side and make them understandable on the other side. The configuration is made in a matter of minutes by using the Anybus Configuration Manager software which means that no programming is necessary.

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