Members press release

Wittmann, Austria - IFR-Partner

Robot Series R8 - Active Collision Protection

Who is not familiar with such a situation - a short lapse of attention can potentially carry major consequences. For example, if a user moves a robot in manual mode, and however gets distracted, within the blink of an eye, the robot hits the safety guard of the molding machine or even a tie bar. Such small mishaps are all too human, but can carry a high price tag, if the damage is not only optical, but if the robot vertical arm or end-of-arm tooling needs repair. Damages can even happen at typical low speeds of manual motion control, which typically are at 250mm/sec.

 

Programmable Safety Areas

Visualization of the SafeMotion function of the WITTMANN R8 controlA solution to this is offered with the R8 robot control system of WITTMANN on one side with the FlexSafe safety areas. These can be set arbitrarily and easily through the WITTMANN R8 TeachBox. Critical areas - like for instance, the tie bars or the safety guards of the molding machine - can be intentionally protected from operator errors. The robot can only move within the safety areas, and motions outside these areas will be completely disabled. Up to 255 areas can be set in such a way and displayed in 3D views. All axis, also existing (pneumatic) axis, as the wrist flip motion of the robot, will be monitored during the real time checks of the programmable safety areas. The monitoring is full time and regardless of the current operating mode (automatic or manual) of the robot and in this way provides complete safe operation and control of all motions. The FlexSafe safety areas can be defined on a voluntary basis, with the effect, that not all robots are protected as such.

 

SafeMotion - Always active

Now WITTMANN introduces with the latest release of the R8 software a further mechanism for protection, which is automatically activated for axis motions with speed with or below 250mm/sec. This new function is called SafeMotion, which offers an adjustable torque moment control for horizontal axis motions. The SafeMotion function is permanently active in the background and immediately recognizes the increase of the torque moment of a motor. As soon as a pre-defined rate of increase is detected, which equals in a real-life situation the hitting of an object, the motor will be deactivated.

The SafeMotion function is ideally applicable in manual mode, to protect robot and molding machine from misuse of operators, as well as for the "sensitive" insertion of parts into the mold. Should the part to be inserted be misaligned in the gripper, or if the tolerance of this part is outside the specifications, the robot does not attempt to insert with maximum force. Instead it only attempts to insert up to a programmable and useful limit value.

 

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