Wittmann, Austria - IFR-Partner
Wittmann R8.2: The New Standard in Robot Control
Since its market introduction 2009 the WITTMANN robot R8 control has excelled by way of its trend-setting design, ease of use and intuitiveness. Just in time for K 2010 the performance spectrum has been significantly increased, whereby WITTMANN offers and makes available many of these performance enhancing functions at no extra cost.
From the beginning developments of the R8 control, the goal of WITTMANN was to develop and intuitive platform while maintaining user simplicity when performing complicated operations and sequences. This approach was imperative during the development work on the R8.2 robot control, as it provides users an expansion of control functions, including additional routines and simplified programming commands. Following are some new functions of the R8.2 control, which are being presented in detail for the first time.
After having completely refurbished the connection between machine and robot, the SmartStart function allows the robot to independently switch to automatic mode. This is leading to several advantages. Thus the robot for now is staying in the automatic mode when the machine is switching to the manual mode. Only when the status of the machine is not meeting the demands of the program - and a reasonable continuation of the programming work is not possible - the robot is switching to a save halt. Opening the machine's safety door in the meantime - and thus interrupting the safety circuit - is possible without any problems. The robot is automatically restarting its run without the need of any initiative once the machine has been switched back to the automatic mode.
The SmartStart Function features a simplified start option. With the touch of one button, the R8 controlled robot will perform a dry cycle without the participation of the machine or a single production cycle. A step through cycle mode that has existed for previous software generations is still available. With every SmartStart mode several safety features are running in the background, e.g. FlexSafe (Flexible Safety Areas) and Automatic Collision Detection (ACD), in manual and step mode.
Automatic Collision Detection (ACD)
To provide increased safety for molding machine, robot and peripheral equipment, particularly during the robot programming, all robots equipped with the R8.2 control system will feature the ACD function. ACD ensures that during the manual programming and test phase of the robot that the mechanical components are protected. This is achieved through monitoring motor torque levels while speeds are less that 250 mm/s. Should an unexpected increase of torque be detected, the robot stops, which serves for the protection of robot, end-of-arm tooling, machine and mold.
The concept for the development of the QuickEdit function, is to allow an operator to quickly create a new operating program, based on stored programming templates. With QuickEdit, setting of the main predefined data for the robot sequence can be done in a few simple steps, by using pictures or animations. These images will step the user through the programming sequence explaining step by step the robots operation.
This type of programming can be used either for the creation of a simple "pick and place" sequences or more complex operations with part removal, degating, sprue disposal and part placement. It is also available to hide unnecessary program code while just highlight important functions to be modified after a mold change. To provide further security, the functions ACD and FlexSafe are active in the background. The operator also has the ability to create user specific templates for QuickEdit function. WITTMANN's Text Editor remains available for those wishing to complete more complex CNC freely programmable operations.
Often with older models of injection molding machines, the problem occurs that the mold drifts during the opening stroke with position fluctuations at the full mold open position. This can cause issues with the robot and end of arm tool to capture the part or runner during the removal process. WITTMANN has tackled this problem and has created SmartVacuum.
By using the SmartVacuum function, mold and part can be reliably and repeatedly found. The motion of the kick-stroke is controlled through the use of analog vacuum generators and monitors. As soon as a freely programmable vacuum setting is reached, the forward motion of the robot will be stopped and the part captured. With the servo controlled movable kick-stroke, the probability to damage the part through capturing with too high of pressure or not capturing the part properly, because of being too far away, is eliminated.
Whatever SmartVacuum provides for the part removal, SmartInsertion does for insertions. Based on the ACD function which is active in Teach-Mode, WITTMANN succeeded to integrate torque control into the automatic mode for critical insert motions.
SmartInsertion supports the user with the possibility to variably adjust the insertion force, which protects the cavity and insert in fully automatic mode.
Should the insertion force exceed the defined values, the insert motion will be immediately stopped. This limit values can be set depending on the application and stored with the respective program.
These new described control functions together with the already known functions - e.g. AnalogVaccum, TruePath (parallel motion of up to 12 axes), FlexSafe (defined 3D-Safety areas) and SmartRemoval (optimized removal cycle for the reduction of removal times of up to 15 %) - provide a solid basis for the new WITTMANN robot control generation R8.2.