This article and video will cover Omron Automation's latest machine controller the NJ. This is a one controller, one connection, in one software solution.
So, what does that exactly mean? With this single controller I can do logic, motion, and networking all in one and that's just standard no add-on cards required. And that's just the hardware, from the software side I can do programming, logic, motion, vision, safety, HMI, and set the network without having to jump back and forth between different software suites.
On the left-hand side, I have my power supply. It's going to be rated between 100 to 240 volts ac and it's also managed shut down.
Basically, this means it'll keep power into the processor until can safely shut down when power is disconnected.
I have a 1.66 gigahertz atom processor which packs high speeds for multiple axes of motion. Battery backup for non-volatile memory. SD card slot for backup and restore as well as a built-in ethernetIP and EtherCAT ports. Now let's look at the different processes that are available.
I have four different models I can go from 8, 16, 32, and 64 axes of motion. There's also models with SQL which is data collection from your NJ to a SQL Server and then a robot model so Omron has a couple different versions of robots are available that can be programmed right from the NJ.
Looking at the system, I have two networks, I have an EtherNET IP network which is going to my switch and then for my switch I can go to my HMI or any other third-party device then I have my EtherCAT Network. My EtherCAT is basically the daisy chain from one device to the next. Here's my servos and then from my servos I'm going to my NX I/O and now remember my NX I/O is simply remote I/O and then from my NX I'm going over to my safety. This is basically further an NX I/O but I have a safety CPU attached to it. My safety CPU is communicating with my input and output cards and then I can attach standard I/O onto that.
The most powerful feature of this platform is the software. This is what makes it so easy to program and so powerful. Let's look at the software to see how easy it is. On the Left-hand side your multi-view explorer. This section the program allows you to pick different aspects of your software as far as EtherCAT settings, I/O map and data settings, so on and so forth and this usually remains static throughout your whole entire program so you can easily navigate back forth. On your right-hand side is your toolbox this section allows you to add when you're in your ladder software different function blocks, contacts, coils, so on and so forth into your program. You simply drag them over.
Now when you're looking at a function block and you're not sure what it is, especially if someone else wrote a program, highlight over that function block hit your F1 key, and a help screen automatically pulls up. They've done a really good job showing a description of how it's used as well as a sample code at the bottom of how each function block is used. And to delete any wrong you simply hit delete.
Another key part of this program is the flow capabilities. On your program I can simply double-click my program and move a window anywhere around my screen. This is useful or if I have a double screen and I want to look at that HMI programming and ladder logic at the same time.
As I'm building along will notice some of these red check-marks, what the software doing is doing an auto build. So, as you're producing your logic it's automatically checking for errors and building at the same time. This is nice for if you ever lose your software, software crashes, computer shuts down. its automatically building and saving for you as you're going along.
As I keep talking about this one software, one solution, this allows me to use this single software whether I want to program the vision sensor or an HMI. To simply do that I can go up to my top menu hit insert, and HMI, and now I can select which ever HMI I am using for this project. and the new window will pop up showing the HMI software. I can easily navigate back and forth between the HMI and my NJ PLC.
Searching the EtherCAT network allows me to see what drives or I/O I have connected as well as add and axes, and then we can see it run. First thing we're going to do is I'm going to go online with my controller. On the bottom you can see a box that indicates whether we're online or not and now I can go in and do a compare and merge actual network configuration. What this is doing it's going out and searching for whatever drives I have connected and it's going to put them on the right-hand side of the screen. I want to merge those two my offline file I can simply hit apply actual Network configuration.
Once the drives are added on to my network now, I can start adding axes on to my program. To do this, I can go to my motion control setup and axes set. Double click that. Go offline and choose add axes. From there I can choose what axes I want to set.
For this case I'm going to choose several axes and then I'm going to choose node one. What this does is assigns a servo axis to my node one drive.
From there I can choose to download the program. All right now that the Axes configuration has been downloaded to the controller, we can start jogging the axes around if you want to do some mechanical tests. What I can do is simply go to controller NJ test run and start. What this will do is overwrite any motion instructions in the program and allow you to jog these axes to absolute position, relative position, and try out your homing sequence.
The servo drive is on and now I can simply give it a velocity and acceleration. And now you can see my axes moving and allows me to do any mechanical test that I need to perform. It makes a quick way to test out your servos without having to build code first.