Robots optimally under control - Plant manufacturers rely on Siemens technology for the automation of robot cells

Krüger Industrieautomation GmbH (Krüger) specialises in plant engineering and robotics for medium-sized companies. The company relies throughout on control technology from Siemens. This allows all components of the robot cell to be controlled and monitored independently of the robot programming. The simple handling also shortens commissioning times. In addition, integrated functions such as safety functionalities save costs, increase operator safety and plant efficiency, and enable rapid diagnostics in the event of a fault.

For smaller plants, Krüger relies on fail-safe Simatic S7-1200F programmable logic controllers (PLCs) from Siemens. Simatic S7-1500F is used for more complex projects. Andreas Pfeifer, Head of Project Engineering at Krüger, summarizes the advantages of an S7-1200 PLC, which, for example, automates a robot cell with a lifting portal and gripper solutions in a current project: "It enables us to control and monitor all components in the robot cell independently of the robot program. In this case, the end position sensor system for querying the gripper position. In addition, all communication between the robot and the welding machine takes place via a Simatic S7-1200F controller and the Profinet Ethernet standard.

Flexibly configurable security areas

In addition to standard communication, the robot is also connected to the machine in terms of safety. This coupling is carried out via the Profisafe communication standard. With the option "Safe Operation" the robot actions can be restricted to certain areas. In addition, the operator can block or release individual travels via the control system as required or depending on the machine condition. This means that the safety areas for robots and operators can be flexibly designed. The safety functions are all available in the programmable logic controller and are displayed on a Basic Panel Simatic KTP700. "This enables the customer to quickly diagnose faults right down to the channel error," says Pfeifer.

Convincing all along the line

The engineering takes place in the engineering framework TIA (Totally Integrated Automation) Portal. Thanks to integrated automation, the programmer does not have to switch between different software solutions and programming languages, which saves time and effort. A Simatic ET 200SP distributed I/O system, which simplifies and simplifies wiring, also contributes to this. Based on the good experience with Simatic S7-1200 to date, Krüger would like to use further functions of the fail-safe control system in the future, such as the web server function. This makes remote access possible. "This then enables us or the customer to make initial diagnoses from home or on the road on the computer or mobile phone," says Pfeifer.