Safety First with Robotic Joints

Adaptable to a wide range of applications, AutomationWare’s new family of J-Actuators robotic couplings can be controlled via ROS and provides the necessary safety for people and things thanks to three measurement and sensing systems, which give instant response with high sensitivity. In addition, EtherCAT manages the motor and sensors, and records parametric data.

by Marta Bonaria

In February 2020 AutomationWare released J-Actuators, a new series of robotic joints controllable via ROS for a safe and user-friendly collaborative robotics.
The series consists of five models (14-17-20-25-32) to meet the needs of each customer and guarantee the widest applicability. AutomationWare couplings can be used in a wide variety of applications, in particular on systems or rotary machines, where torque performance is required on very small spaces and / or extremely sophisticated diagnostic control.

Parametric data detected in real time
Model J-32 is based on a high-performance torque motor, it develops a maximum torque of 353 and a nominal 220 Nm thanks to a high-performance HD gearbox. The J-14 model, one of the smallest joints in the world, allows rotation at high speed while maintaining the maximum torque of 28 Nm.
The joints can also be purchased individually and have a power driver integrated in the mechanics and connectable via EtherCAT to guarantee a great simplification of the control (also available in ProfiNet in the future). To complete the electronics, two processors (double to offer the necessary redundancy), one high resolution ADC converter and a series of analogue and digital inputs for the connection of various sensors. The EtherCAT fieldbus allows the management of the motor and sensors as well as the recording of a large amount of parametric data detected in real time.

Three systems for safety of people and objects
The J-Actuators are equipped with three safety systems for the prevention of possible collisions with people or objects: torque measurement through high resolution current control; electronic measurement of the torsional rigidity of the gearbox; contact detection device for an instant response to possible impacts with sensitivity up to fractions of Nm.
All AutomationWare couplings have two 20-bit absolute magnetic encoders. The double encoding allows high positioning accuracy with a resolution of one million levels of quantization on 360° of rotation.
Thanks to ROS, the joints can be configured with other AutomationWare products to generate robotic systems tailored to the application and easy to manage. The first AutomationWare modular cobot, ROS-Tube, will be presented at SPS Parma 2020.