Integrated robotic control beings benefits


In a move which brings innovation into manufacturing in virtual and remote environments, OMRON has announced the launch of what it believes is the world’s first robotic integrated controller, the new NJ501-R, which is based on OMRON’s NJ series of machine controllers for industrial automation.

With the new integrated controller from OMRON, it is possible to automate advanced and complex manual work and simulate the design and modification of production facilities in a virtual environment, and to conduct maintenance remotely. The new machine controller offers real-time synchronisation between all automation equipment, including robots, vision components, drives and safety equipment.

Improving the speed and accuracy of production, users can simulate entire production lines without having to deploy physical equipment. This will simplify maintenance and reduce time-to-market during the design, planning, commissioning and changeover processes.

Many industries are facing labour shortage issues, and the world is experiencing a major turning point with how society conducts business due to new global health concerns. As a result, the demand for more advanced automation with robots has increased, along with a growing demand for digitalisation.

Traditionally, automation equipment for production facilities has been managed by several different controllers, creating a major challenge to set up and coordinate the speed and timing between various devices. Also, it was very difficult to verify a process design in advance and with a high level of accuracy before the construction of a machine or larger production line. After the equipment is commissioned, adjustments need to be made on site, and backtracking and specification changes are common, resulting in a huge number of labour hours.

As a manufacturer of motion sensors, robotics and safety equipment for fully automated production lines, OMRON has now addressed these issues by seamlessly integrating the control equipment.


Integration of control 

The robotic integrated controller automates inserting and assembling processes that require delicate and skilful processing. The robots and equipment are controlled and fully synchronised in real-time by a single controller, improving device performance and achieving what the company believes is the world’s highest level of throughput.

OMRON has also unified the programming languages for robot and machine control, making it easy to simulate a production line with single programming software. The system visualises the process, reducing man-hours for process design and operational verification by up to 50% according to OMRON. Furthermore, all of this can be conducted remotely. Through Sysmac Studio’s user interface, users can design, program, troubleshoot, operate and maintain future automation systems remotely from anywhere in the world.

According to OMRON, this new approach brings with it a number of important benefits. By integrating the PLC, motion and robot control in a single controller, complex manual work that could only be conducted by humans can now be completed by robots. As the programming language for the PLC and robot is unified in the generic IEC language, engineers who typically manage PLCs can also manage robots.

With the simulation technology, equipment performance can be verified at the early stage of equipment design, allowing mechanical designers and electrical designers to design in parallel. As a result, equipment commissioning can be completed in a shorter period, higher production capacity can be achieved, and mistakes and setbacks during equipment commissioning can be avoided.

While to run the simulation, the user can leverage the emulation function in Sysmac Studio. This means that the system does not require a connection to the actual machine for operation verification.

Finally, by reusing previous digitalised assets, it is easier to establish the next facility.




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