Industrial automation providers Rockwell Automation Inc. and Comau today announced today that they are collaborating on unified robot controls. The companies said their partnership will give manufacturers worldwide the tools to ease integration and deployment, as well as maximize efficiencies.
“Industrial companies are looking for efficient ways to integrate robotics into their operations for process optimization and agility,” stated Blake Moret, chairman and CEO of Rockwell Automation. “Rockwell Automation’s collaboration with Comau will simplify programming and lifecycle management, accelerating time to value for our customers.”
Comau said it has more than 45 years of experience in helping manufacturers of all sizes in almost any industry improve quality, increase productivity, shorten time to market, and reduce costs. The Turin, Italy-based unit of Stellantis NV has more than 9,000 employees, seven innovation centers, five digital hubs, and eight factories across 14 countries. Milwaukee-based Rockwell Automation has about 23,500 employees in more than 100 countries.
Rockwell Automation, Comau unify controls
According to the partners, engineers will have one environment for programming their machines, including Comau robot arms directly controlled through Rockwell Automation’s Logix-based controllers. Rockwell said its Studio 5000 design software can provide relief from the time-consuming and often difficult task of trying to coordinate traditionally separate machine control and robot systems to work together using two different tools.
Rockwell Automation added that machine builders, systems integrators, and others will be able to use tools such as its Emulate3D digital twin software for more efficient development and deployment. The digital engineering tool creates digital models of production lines, auto-generates machine control code, and has built-in capabilities for Comau robots.
In addition to easier integration, Rockwell and Comau claimed their digital-twin and analytics systems will enable end users to gain deeper insights into machine performance and potential production optimization. Safety and security capabilities can reduce business risks, they said.
Operators on the manufacturing floor will have a single interface in Rockwell’s FactoryTalk suite to see both line and robot control systems. In-plant and remote technicians will only need to learn and maintain one architecture to monitor both systems, the vendors said. They can also use Rockwell’s augmented reality (AR) tools for lifecycle and service cycle maintenance.
Integrated digital engineering technologies
Rockwell Automation said it works with the following products and technology for robotics integration:
- Allen-Bradley ControlLogix control systems
- Kinetix 5700 servo drive platform
- Studio 5000 automation system design software
- FactoryTalk View human machine interface (HMI) software
- FactoryTalk InnovationSuite, powered by PTC digital transformation software suite
- Emulate3D digital twin software
- PTC Vuforia AR tools for remote collaboration and information capture
Comau, Rockwell work to broaden robotics applications
Comau's product range includes more than 40 different industrial robotic arms, with load capacities from 3 to 650 kg (6.6 to 1,433 lb.). It said they are designed to meet the needs of a wide variety of industries, including automotive to logistics, food and beverage, and packaging.
Moret said this expansion of applications is rooted in Rockwell’s broader strategy to help industrial customers save time and improve performance with unified robot controls. The partners will jointly develop and sell the unified control product to both companies’ customers.
“Comau’s robotics and industrial automation expertise, as well as its reputation for high performance, reliability, and quality, combined with Rockwell Automation’s global capabilities and experience in automated material handling, food and beverage, household and personal care, and life sciences, gives customers the incremental value of an integrated robot solution,” said Paolo Carmassi, CEO of Comau. “Comau is eager to work with such an important partner that has a market-leading global footprint in all industries.”
For example, Automazioni Industriali Capitanio (AIC) is an early adopter of the joint offering. The systems integrator designs, manufactures, and commissions automation systems for the metals industry. The Rockwell-Comau collaboration allows the company to offer a seamless robot solution for customers, which is a key advantage for a machine builder, said Marco Capitanio, managing director of AIC.
“We value the simple and flexible programming environment, complete access to robot supervision and diagnostic parameters, and the ability to leverage existing automation panels and standard control devices,” Capitanio said.
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