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"New Automation Technology" - Beckhoff wants to prove the validity of this self-formulated claim once again, this time with the new ATRO system. ATRO stands here as an acronym for "Automation Technology for Robotics". The development of a modular industrial robot and cobot system is not only intended to complete the company's own portfolio, but also to set a new milestone in automation technology through complete integration in the integrated control platform.

Complete integration

Today, the performance of a machine is defined primarily by the broadest possible connection of the robotics solution to motion control, safety, machine learning, IoT, analytics, vision, cloud engineering and HMI - as well as by direct combinability with intelligent transport systems such as XPlanar and XTS. This results in the great advantage that all components are fully networked with each other, which on the one hand results in precise temporal synchronization, i.e. highly dynamic interactions between the systems become possible even during product transport. On the other hand, data can be accessed mutually at any time without complex configuration. This significantly reduces the time and effort required to commission a robot and enables initial movements in just a few minutes. The new ATRO system is thus intended to consistently continue the holistic thinking of the PC- and EtherCAT-based control philosophy.

Modular design with standardized interfaces

According to Beckhoff, the modular ATRO robotic system thus marks nothing less than a turning point in the development of robots. The systematic integration is intended to enable machine builders to offer ready-to-run solutions with completely integrated robotics and their own kinematics, precisely adapted to the task at hand, with any number of axes and absolutely freely scalable, modifiable and expandable.

Each individual module of the system has an internal media guide for data, energy and fluids (vacuum, air and water), which become available via the ATRO interface at the end effector. In this way, different tools, for example mechanical, pneumatic or electric grippers, can be easily integrated. The special feature here is that all media feedthroughs are solved constructively in such a way that the endless rotation of the axes and the tool remains possible. The modularity and scalability of the system should also guarantee the future and investment security of the complete solution, as the robot can be flexibly adapted to new tasks.