Drives and Controls Magazine
$170m investment delivers next-gen robot platform
Published:  04 June, 2024

ABB Robotics has announced a new-generation intelligent robotics automation platform that, it says, is faster, more precise and more sustainable. The OmniCore platform – the result of more than $170m of investment in next-generation robotics – is a step change to a modular, futureproof control architecture that will integrate AI, sensors, cloud and edge computing systems to create advanced and autonomous robotic applications.

The platform will allow robots to operate up to 25% faster and to consume up to 20% less energy than the previous-generation IRC5 controller, which will be phased out in June 2026..

The platform promises “class-leading” motion performance, delivering robot path accuracies better than 0.6mm, with multiple robots running at speeds of up to 1,600mm per second. This will open up new automation opportunities in precision areas such as arc welding, gluing and laser cutting, according to ABB.

“The OmniCore difference is its ability to manage motion, sensors and application equipment in a single holistic unified system,” explains ABB Robotics’ president, Marc Segura. “OmniCore opens the door to the entire ABB Robotics portfolio of hardware and software, in any combination under a single control platform, offering endless possibilities and more avenues for value creation.

“For example, OmniCore enables automotive manufacturers to increase production speed, offering tremendous competitive advantage, increasing press-tending production from 12 to 15 strokes per minute, to produce 900 parts per hour. We believe that OmniCore offers the potential for many more industry breakthroughs, empowering our customers across all sectors to meet the challenges that lie ahead.”

OmniCore is built on a scalable, modular architecture that offers a wide array of functions to create almost any application, making it suitable for businesses using automation in existing and new segments, such as biotechnology and construction. With more than 1,000 hardware and software features, it allows users to design, operate, maintain and optimise operations easily. This is enabled by software functions such as ABB's Absolute Accuracy and PickMaster Twin, as well as hardware options from external axes and vision systems, to fieldbuses.

ABB says that its new OmniCore robot control platform will result in faster, more precise and more autonomous automation

“For our customers, automation is a strategic requirement as they seek greater flexibility, simplicity and efficiency in response to the global megatrends of labour shortages, uncertainty and the need to operate more sustainably,” says Sami Atiya, president of ABB’s Robotics & Discrete Automation business. “Through our development of advanced mechatronics, AI and vision systems, our robots are more accessible, more capable, more flexible and more mobile than ever. But increasingly they must also work seamlessly together, with us and each other, to take on more tasks in more places. This is why we are launching OmniCore – a new milestone in our 50-year history in robotics.

He describes the platform as “a unique, single control architecture – one platform, and one language that integrates our complete range of leading hardware and software.”

ABB will continue to support its customers using previous-generation IRC5 controllers with spare parts and services through the remaining lives of their robots.

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