Ecava IGX Talks to the Robot Hands

Ecava IGX与机器人手对话

How It Started

Robots have been penetrated the industries ever since industrial automation was brought in. Basically, with the rising of Artificial Intelligence (AI), industrial robots can be designed and programmed to do almost anything. There are varieties of different robots used for industrial automation. Among all, robotic arms are one of the most popular used in different industries, and even robotic arms itself consists of multiple types. Articulated robotic arm is a type of robotic arm with rotary joints, in which these joints may vary in different number of axis. KUKA is well known in the market to produce 6 axis articulated robotic arms, used mostly for industrial purpose.


In order to ensure integration with the latest and popular industrial needs, Malaysia government has funded several technical institutes to provide professional courses in robotics and automation. Other than theories, these courses shall provide the environment / laboratory which equipped with real KUKA robots as well as the complete imitation system of an industrial manufacturing production line.


Three (3) institutes in Malaysia are chosen to introduce and implement this project by government, which are Pahang Skill Development Center (PSDC), Pusat Pembangunan Kemahiran Sarawak (PPKS), and German-Malaysian Institute (GMI). By providing these courses, the attendants are allowed to get a hands on experience with the full system, this shall assist them to familiarize with the industrial real world.

政府选择了马来西亚的三所(3所)机构介绍和实施这一项目,它们是:Pahang技能发展中心(PSDC)、Pusat Pembangunan Kemahiran Sarawak(PPKs)和德国马来西亚研究所(GMI)。通过提供这些课程,学员可以掌握整个系统的经验,这将有助于他们熟悉工业现实世界。

Get the Robots Moving

In order to integrate with the robotic arms, a Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) system is designed and implemented. Once again, Ecava IGX SCADA is chosen as the automation solution as well as training toolkit for this project. The system is established along with PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers) to talk to the robotic arms. Process conveyor belt is built to transport pallets of raw materials, where they will be sent to stations with robot arms to perform the assembly operation. Besides, there are also RFID scanners and vision checking system devices to register and inspect each pallet’s barcode ID and status. The basic system architecture of CIM system is shown as follow diagram.

为了与机器人手臂集成,设计并实现了计算机集成制造(CIM)系统。再次,Ecava IGX SCADA被选为该项目的自动化解决方案和培训工具包。该系统是与PLC(可编程控制器)一起建立的,用于与机器人手臂对话。过程传送带是用来运输托盘的原材料,在那里,他们将被送往站与机器人手臂,以执行装配操作。此外,还有RFID扫描仪和视觉检查系统设备,以登记和检查每个托盘的条形码ID和状态。CIM系统的基本体系结构如下所示。

Basic system architecture of CIM system


The main concept may seem simple, but the truth is there are multiple times of efforts required to achieve the expected impression. Ecava IGX plays the role of simulator, in which the robots’ movement will be automated. User can also monitor and control the operation by interacting with the SCADA screens. The procedures to configure Ecava IGX certainly involves powerful automated scripts to control the robotic arms. PLCs in this project act as the logic commanders to the robots. However, they will require an handshake agent to communicate with each other, and that is how Ecava IGX step in again. Thus, different communication protocol are involved to establish the complete CIM operation, which includes Modbus TCP/IP, OPC and Profinet.

主要的概念可能看起来很简单,但事实是,要达到预期的印象,需要多次努力。Ecava IGX扮演模拟器的角色,在模拟器中机器人的运动将是自动化的。用户还可以通过与SCADA屏幕的交互来监视和控制操作。配置Ecava IGX的过程当然需要强大的自动化脚本来控制机器人手臂。在这个项目中,PLC充当机器人的逻辑指挥者。然而,它们需要一个握手代理来相互通信,这就是Ecava IGX再次介入的方式。因此,需要不同的通信协议来建立完整的CIM操作,包括Modbus TCP/IP、OPC和Profinet.

The CIM system is designed to consists of five (5) operation modes, as listed below.
– Store Raw Material
– Machine Raw Material
– Assembly
– Barcode Printing
– Unloading


These modes are actually sections of a complete CIM operation. User can also select to execute full mode from Ecava IGX, and all PLC kits will be activated to operate based on system designed routine. The manufacturing process can be monitored real-time on the HMI mimic screens, for example as shown below.

这些模式实际上是完整CIM操作的一部分。用户也可以选择执行完全模式从Ecava IGX,所有的PLC工具包将被激活,根据系统设计的例程操作。制造过程可以在人机界面模拟屏幕上实时监控,如下图所示。

Full mode CIM operation HMI mimic screen on Ecava IGX

Ecava IGX上的全模式CIM操作人机界面模拟屏幕

HMI mimic screen for Machine Raw Material operation in CIM system


The Hardware / Software:

Server Machine: Dell Precision T3600 Workstation
OS: Microsoft Windows 7

PLC (Programmable Logic Controllers):
– Siemens S7-200
– Siemens S7-1200
Protocol: Modbus TCP/IP, Profinet

Robotic Arms:
Protocol: OPC

Vision Checking System
Protocol: Modbus TCP/IP

IO tags: 1500 tags

2015年11月19日 01:29