ABB Robot Controllers

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One of the main components of any robotic system is the controller. The controller is essentially the “brains” of an ABB robot as it is responsible for interpreting programming code in order for the robot to perform a given task. ABB has been manufacturing industrial robots for decades and just as their robots have evolved over the years, so have their controllers. Below is an overview of the robotic controllers for ABB robots.

S Controllers

ABB’s S controller series features several of their older controller models. The controllers making up the S series include the S2, S3, S4, S4C, and S4C Plus. The S2 was originally released in the early 1980s and was unique since it was the first to be powered by AC motors. In the early to mid 1990s the S3 and S4 controllers were released as successors to the S2. In the late 1990s the S4C was released as the smaller and more compact replacement to the S4 controller. In the early 2000s the S4C Plus control system was released as the latest version of S controls for ABB. The S4C Plus featured ABB’s RAPID programming language as well as built-in ethernet cabling. Since ABB’s S controllers are older, they can only be found on the second-hand market with mainly the S4C and S4C Plus in circulation.

IRC5

The ABB IRC5 is the fifth generation of ABB controllers. It was originally released in 2004 and is still paired with ABB robots today. All ABB robots manufactured from 2004 onward use the IRC5 control system. This includes the ABB IRB 1600 and 6640. The IRC in the name stands for industrial robot controller. In addition to the IRC5 there is the IRC5 Compact, the IRC5 Paint, and the IRC5 Panel Mounted Controller (PMC). The IRC5 is available in either a single or dual cabinet. The IRC5 features ABB’s RAPID programming language and multi-robot control. Up to four ABB robots can be controlled with a single IRC5 controller. The IRC5 Compact provides the same features as the IRC5 but with a smaller footprint. The IRC5 Compact can be paired with smaller ABB robots including the ABB IRB 1200 and 140. Its compact frame helps users save on floorspace. The IRC5 Paint (IRC5P) controller is specifically designed for robotic painting applications. The IRC5P features technology to reduce cycle times, control the painting process, and conserve paint. It also features an Ex certified teach pendant for hazardous conditions. The IRC5 Panel Mounted Controller features the same benefits as the IRC5 but comes without the control cabinet. This design allows the integration of the IRC5 Panel Mounted Cabinet to be customized for any enclosure or to meet certain environmental conditions.

Omnicore

Omnicore is ABB’s latest line of robotic controllers. It features two controllers, the C30 and the C90XT. Both versions feature enhanced motion control and connectivity. The C30 features a 50% smaller footprint. Its compact design conserves floorspace and allows for more flexible installation. The C90XT is designed for robots operating in harsh work environments. The XT in its name stands for extra tough as it features an IP54 rating.

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