With Atro, Beckhoff presents a new concept for robotic applications. It is a modular system from which the right robot kinematics can be put together extremely flexibly for any application. A highlight of the system is the internal media supply for data, energy and fluids. This was realised in such a way that all axes are designed to rotate endlessly.
With Atro, users can create almost any robot design for their application from the modules provided - starting with a simple 1-axis rotary table application, through delta kinematics to multi-axis serial robots. The holistic perspective of Beckhoff is crucial for simple commissioning and handling, because only the direct integration of the robot system into PC-based Control enables a truly optimised complete solution for the machine or plant. This reduces the number of controllers required, even with several robots, to one Industrial PC.
An Atro kinematic system is made up of active joints - the motor modules. The motor modules are available in different designs: straight modules in I-shape or angled modules in L-shape, which are designed in five power sizes. Each motor module forms a complete drive system for one axis of the robot. Only a power supply and a control unit are required as external components, which considerably reduces the space required in the control cabinet. In addition to the active modules, there are connection modules without their own drive:
Base modules as a base, including the media feed, Link modules in I-, L- and Y-shape for realising individual robot configurations, System modules with which additional functions such as a camera can be integrated.
Advantages due to internal media routing
All modules are interconnected via the Atro interface, which guarantees a rigid connection and also routes the media fed in. Data, energy and fluids (compressed air, vacuum or water) are thus guided internally through the modules in the Atro kinematics. Conventional robot solutions guide these externally and are therefore limited in terms of rotation and use of the working space. This limitation is completely eliminated in the Beckhoff solution - each axis can be rotated endlessly, which enables better Cartesian accessibility and short positioning paths. Furthermore, interfering contours, e.g. due to externally located cables and, particularly in the case of cobots, interfering torques due to external media guidance are avoided. In addition, the media are fed out again via the Atro interfaces and almost any robot tools, for example complex gripper systems, can be easily connected.
System integration without limits
With Atro, Beckhoff offers a highly flexible robot system that has all essential machine functionalities through deep integration in the TwinCAT automation software. These include, for example, image processing for complex applications ("reach into the box"), improvement of motion performance through machine learning or direct cloud connection for analysis and maintenance. The use of open interfaces and universal standards enables plug-and-play of the created robot configuration as well as simple engineering. This diversity of functions concentrated in one controller minimises hardware costs and also ensures maximum synchronisation of all components as well as low dead times in data communication. This also includes direct combination with intelligent transport solutions such as XTS and XPlanar. Other areas such as communication, functional safety and the actual application can be created with little effort. This not only enables the configuration of an extremely powerful overall solution with maximised system output, but also a previously unattainable reduction in the machine footprint.