Robotics & Automation News

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Universal Robots adopts industry standard protocol OPC UA

Universal Robots, the largest manufacturer of collaborative robots, is now supporting the OPC UA data communication standard to its robots. (See video below.)

Norwegian software company Rocketfarm has developed the application that enables UR robots to support OPC UA, and is available through its developer network UR+.

Egil Mundal, CEO of Rocketfarm, says: “We initially developed the software for a local factory but thought it would be great if this functionality could be available for anyone who wants to connect UR robots with OPC UA.

“Finally, we have a version that fully complies with the OPC UA standard, including necessary security features.”

The OPC Unified Architecture standard was articulated by the OPC Foundation, which helps develop industrial interoperability technologies.

Integration to Industry 4.0

The OPC UA protocol is one of the fastest growing standards for machine to machine communication and is a key component in “Industry 4.0“. The protocol is frequently used to enable data to flow from the production layer to either the business layer or monitoring systems.

Christian Fenk, UR+ ecosystem manager – EMEA at UR, says: “We know there have been a lot of requests to support OPC UA on UR robots. With this enabled it will open even more doors for our robots and play an important role in key markets.”

The UR+ network works as an appstore for UR robots, where UR certifies both hardware and software to be used together with any of the UR models.

No out of the box solution

The robot itself does not support OPC UA out of the box. The necessary software can be downloaded and installed from the UR+ partner Rocketfarm.

They have worked on the URCap for more than a year. The URCap translates information from the UR robot to OPC UA compatible information. By incorporating the translation in the robot, factories and production facilities avoid installing external hardware to handle the OPC UA translation.

This provides a simple and easy solution for larger and smaller production facilities to connect their UR collaborative robots to their monitoring systems. To improve the accessibility of the URCap.

Rocketfarm is offering af 30-day free trial of the full license. The license enables any company with an UR robot to test the benefits of the OPC UA with no commitment.

A license for the URCap can be acquired through Rocketfarm or through UR+ OPC UA Client/Server.

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