Flexxbotics, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, announced the next generation of its FlexxCORE™, a patent-pending technology which enables robots to securely connect and communicate with automation equipment in an effort to provide more powerful open connectivity. Beyond this, the technology allows the robots to control and command linked machines.
As the critical enabling software infrastructure for robot+machine connectivity in the Flexxbotics solution, this new FlexxCORE version delivers compatibility with over 1,000 different models of CNC machines, other factory machinery and inspection equipment options, and enables 22X faster connector creation than conventional automation integration methods.
THE WORLD OF METAL AM TO YOUR INBOX
Subscribe to our weekly newsletter
To date, many robotic digitalisation initiatives breakdown in the manufacturing workcell. These failures happen because the robots used in machine tending are seldom connected directly to factory equipment due to protocol incompatibilities and interface complexity resulting in limited efficiency gains, unexpected quality issues, and unplanned downtime.
“We believe that moving forward the robots must not only communicate with all the existing machinery in the smart factory, the robots will be the conductors of autonomous process control by orchestrating production and inspection in the workcell,” explains Tyler Modelski, co-founder & CTO of Flexxbotics. “What we’re doing with our FlexxCORE technology is enabling global companies to embrace robot-driven manufacturing at unprecedented scale.”
Flexxbotics has highlighted the following features of Flexxcore:
- Complete Protocol Compatibility – FlexxCORE is compatible with a wide range of protocols including open standards and proprietary protocols
- Full Command & Control – FlexxCORE handles a full set of bidirectional communication, transform and routing capabilities for the robots and machines connected including loading PLC programs, sending instructions, updating parameters and status awareness so the robots control and command the smart factory equipment
- Open Hybrid Architecture – FlexxCORE’s SaaS/hybrid architecture runs both online and offline so that production continues regardless of internet access, and Flexxbotics works with existing systems in the smart factory such as CAD/CAM, MES, SCADA/HMI, IIoT, ERP, PLM, custom systems and others for unmatched extensibility
FlexxCORE enables the robots to draw from DNC interfaces and directly manipulate G-code at the machine level to make closed-loop programmatic adjustments to PLC programs in real-time. For example, FlexxCORE can read, write and update macro variables, parameters, and offsets – such as tool/fixture/work offsets – based on inspection results to adjust for tool wear and other factors so part production remains consistent to specification and tolerance for high precisions.
“We view the advancement of robotics in the smart factory as game-changing,” said Tyler Bouchard, co-founder & CEO of Flexxbotics. “Robots are shifting the use of digital technology in the factory from primarily planning and monitoring to true intelligent autonomy.”