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Entry type: Application example Entry ID: 109482123, Entry date: 10/08/2018

Controlling a KUKA Industrial Robot Using a SIMATIC S7-1500

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The KUKA.PLC mxAutomation function package provided by KUKA Roboter GmbH enables users to use a SIMATIC controller to control a KUKA robot with a KR C4 controller using elementary basic and motion commands. This application example shows how to control the robot using a SIMATIC S7-1516 and provides an overview of the use of the included function blocks.

Industrial robots are becoming more and more popular. Nowadays, they are increasingly used in machines and plants. Their standardized mechanical system is fully developed and highly flexible in terms of the possible motions so that a robot has become the preferred choice over expensive special mechanical equipment. This allows production from lot size one upward even without expensive modifications to machines and plants.
Unfortunately, however, the plant control system and the robot controller are typically two different systems. Communication between the two controllers takes place mostly only at the bit level and the robot’s motion programs are permanently stored on the robot controller and can only be called by the plant control system. Therefore, it is relatively difficult to implement a flexible response of the robot to special plant events. Furthermore, the programming of the plant control system and the one of the robot mostly differ to a great extent so that both systems can generally not be supported by one person. Interface and coordination problems are therefore inevitable.

This application example shows how to use a SIMATIC S7-1500 controller to fully control and operate a KUKA industrial robot. To do this, the KUKA.PLC mxAutomation block library is used in TIA Portal, which provides all the necessary function blocks.
Communication between the SIMATIC S7-1500 controller and the KUKA industrial robot takes place via a PROFINET connection. All commands and status information between the SIMATIC controller and the robot are exchanged via this connection.

Figure 01

Using the KUKA.PLC mxAutomation block library, the SIMATIC controller takes full control of the KUKA industrial robot. The KUKA industrial robot consists of the KUKA KR C4 robot controller and the robot’s mechanical system, the actual robot. The interpreter for the commands of the KUKA.PLC mxAutomation block library is installed on the robot controller. The interpreter receives the commands from the SIMATIC controller and executes them on the robot’s mechanical system, including kinematic transformation.

Additional Keywords
mxA, GSDML file, GSD file, GSD, distributed I/O, kinematics, teach-in, point-to-point motion, PLCopen