Catching Fire: PLC-Integrated Robots (Part 2 of 2)
Technically speaking, there is no difference in performance between a traditional robot controller approach or PLC-integrated controls. Because there is no performance difference, instantaneous productivity is not impacted in either case.
Since the key in total productivity is uptime, PLC-integrated controls can make a significant difference. When intermittent problems halt production, this technology allows access to all components through a single interface. This provides the ability for existing maintenance staff to easily troubleshoot and resolve problems in a familiar PLC environment, and to quickly resume operation.
With a traditional robot controller-based approach, a robot expert would need to be on staff or a service call would be necessary to troubleshoot and resolve the problem. The resident robot expert may not be available or only have knowledge of a specific robot brand. This causes downtime, loss of throughput and associated costs.
Also, as market demands fluctuate, line changes and system enhancements may be required. With PLC-integrated controls, existing staff can be used to make updates. This is due to the fact that, generally speaking, more production plant maintenance technicians understand PLCs than specific robot brands.
Due to unified control architecture, PLC-integrated robots are easy to use and maintenance-friendly. These long-term benefits are essential in today’s factories for continuous productivity gains.
This technology is catching fire as more and more plants are realizing the benefits in this highly competitive environment.