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Retrofit your machines with robots anytime: call HEIDENHAIN

There are good reasons to automate your manufacturing, including staffing shortages, time pressures and the benefits of unattended shifts. But is it really worth investing in a new machine? For machine tools with a HEIDENHAIN control, a robot retrofit may be an attractive option. To ensure smooth communication between the robot and the control, the HEIDENHAIN Service department provides connectivity support.

The process is faster than you might think. Only four hours of online support were needed for our PLC department to connect a SHERPA robot cell plus YASKAWA robot to a machine at the company DUSA-TEC GmbH in Fellbach, Germany. The result was a highly efficient automation solution for loading and unloading workpieces.

In cooperation with the robot cell supplier and the machine user, the HEIDENHAIN Service team analyzes and handles the following tasks:

  • Risk analysis support

Can safety be ensured via a mechanical access barrier, or does a special cobot solution need to be developed for human-robot interaction?

  • Communication

What interfaces are available to ensure communication between the various controller systems, each with their own language, for synchronizing the robot cell with the machine tool in the production process?

  • System openness

To what extent are external system-integration companies needed in order to maintain the machine tool (e.g., during assembly and maintenance)?

Connection standards such as IO signals, Profinet RT and the OPC UA interface, the latter of which is widespread in the automation world, permit the fast and easy system integration of various robots. At the same time, many functions of HEIDENHAIN controls, such pallet management, can help with robot control.

Here are some of the robot functions that HEIDENHAIN controls can perform themselves:

Processing a pallet table (iTNC 530 or later)

Use the pallet management function for well-orchestrated automatic tool changes.

  • The pallet table is selected and started with PGM MGT like a normal part program in the Program Run, Single Block and Program Run, Full Sequence operating modes.
  • Pallet entries (PAL) and fixture entries (FIX) cause NC macros to be called
  • Via these macros, specific tool numbers or pockets can be passed.
  • Program entries (PGM) are executed just like a PGM CALL.

Changing workpieces with IO signals

Easily achieve automated workpiece loading via a robot and camera.

  • The NC program sends a start signal for the robot to load and unload a workpiece.
  • The robot executes programed steps and manages control of the peripherals (e.g., opening doors, closing doors and loading and unloading the workpiece, including automatic clamping, cleaning and unclamping)
  • The robot sends a ready message to the control to restart the NC program

Operating the robot via the NC machine operating panel or the part program: OPC UA Server Client interface

Call various robot jobs in the NC program, and develop and optimize new machining processes (e.g., turning and welding).

  • Robots and cobots can be connected to HEIDENHAIN controls (iTNC 530 or later) via HSCI, independently of the PLC program
  • The required Python operating screens can be created for this purpose on the control
  • The connection can be used on all machines on your shop floor featuring a HEIDENHAIN control
  • Easy connection via Ethernet

Our PLC programming helpline is happy to answer your questions about connecting automation and robot solutions to those of your machines with a HEIDENHAIN control. Get in touch with us now:

Contact person – Service

+1 847-490-1191


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