Integrating a controller that manages a machine and robots means faster development time and greater reliability compared to connecting a separate robot controller to the machine’s PLC. Says Trio India’s Vice President, Sydney Quadros. The benefit of introducing SCARA (selective compliance assembly robot arm) technology to a machine process is an increase in throughput and precision, leading to higher productivity and quality. Typically including four axes of movement and able to lift around 20kg, a SCARA robot adds dexterity to applications such as pick and place for manufacturing assembly. The perception of difficulty in establishing communication between a machine and its robots can be a barrier to introducing SCARA technology. As most PLCs don’t include integrated robot control, a separate controller, provided by the robot manufacturer, is usually required to manage the robot path planner. “This presents a challenge for program application engineers because it creates two distinct development environments,” says Trio Motion Technology’s Vice President, Sydney Quadros. “It means that you need to establish an interface method between the machine and robot. Interfacing a PLC and separate robot controller For many PLC engineers, a robot controller is a specialized field of expertise. As a result, the machine builder has to either recruit robot developers, or they have to rely on the robot provider for commissioning support. Issues in handshaking between the robot and machine don’t only impact OEM development but can also extend to the machine End User. “Separate, vendor-managed environments can make responsibility for resolving inevitable issues more difficult to establish, and it also places more reliance on a third-party,” says Sydney. “Typically, this results in more downtime for the machine user and demands excessive support resource from the machine builder.” “Perhaps the most significant challenge to machine design when interfacing a PLC with a robot, is cost,” adds Sydney. “This approach means two distinct controllers to procure – or more if the application requires more than one SCARA .” Integrating a machine and robots Instead, Trio’s approach uses a single, motion-centric controller that includes robotic kinematic control as well as IEC programming of logic functions. This means coordination of the machine cycle, all motion axes, and robots, in one development environment. “A single motion controller for a machine and robots ensures true integration,” says Sydney. Trio has introduced the Robot Programming System that controls Cartesian and Delta robots, as well as SCARA, and last year launched its own range of SCARA robots. In real world use cases, Trio’s integrated machine and SCARA system has been used on applications ranging from lithium battery production to a bottling line in pharmaceutical packaging. Recently in India with a material handling application for the transfer of die tooling at a furnace, the integrated approach doubled machine cycles per minute over the competition vendor, thanks to the simplicity in communication of the single environment. Most significantly, project development time for the OEM was significantly reduced from an average of three months down to two weeks with just a single engineer. “The solution was less expensive overall because of a reduced hardware requirement, and their End User is benefitting from a more reliable, easier to use system. “says Sydney . “The present and the future for Machine OEMs is to have a economically viable ,user friendly robust and reliable Automation Solution , that is why merging Robotics and Automation through Motion is the DNA of TRIO ,says Sydney Quadros .