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Be in Control With the Right Robot Controller

The current trend of robot control is changing with PLC-based solutions offering different benefits and opportunities over the traditional dedicated robot controllers. So what needs to be considered when selecting the right solution for the application?

Whilst it may look like a relatively simple choice, selecting a robot control solution greatly influences the overall machine capabilities and ease of set-up and operation. Getting it right can help improve system flexibility, avoid compromising performance and productivity, plus simplifying commissioning for machine builders and integrators, whilst minimising changeover time for operators. 


By following a few practices and principles, you can be sure you have selected a control option that meets the requirements of your application and maximise productivity!

PLC Based Control Options can Help Build a Tailor-made System

While dedicated robot controllers provide you with an off the shelf solution, PLC based control options can empower robot integrators to develop their own bespoke control systems. There is an argument that suggests that designing a bespoke system may offer a price advantage, as it is often less expensive to buy a kit of parts and build a system from scratch yourself, than invest in a traditional robot arm. Of course, the application will determine the best approach, but designing in this way can allow an Original Equiptment Manufacturer (OEM) to create tailor-made solutions.

When Should You Opt for Dedicated Robot Controllers?

Choosing a PLC option may seem like the most cost-effective way to go, however it is important to consider the design time of the mechanincal system, the engineering time and everything inbetween. This is taken care of by selecting an off the shelf dedicated controller. For example, a typical 4-axis SCARA system can now be supplied at a very competitive price. The robot mechanical system is already designed and its CAD model can be imported into the machine design, saving time and cost. When the system is being built, the robot is also simple to install and just needs four bolts to mount it into a machine, and can be programmed in less than an hour.  The controllers contain hundreds of dedicated instructions that make the more complex functions, such as tracking a product along a moving conveyor, easy to integrate as they are already built into the system. 

Dedicated robot controllers have to conform to industry standards that cover their design, which includes safety. This means that it is much easier for the system designer to achieve an integrated safety system for the total machine by using compliant components.

Many alternatives, One Comprehensive Provider

If the choice between dedicated or PLC-based robot control is still in the balance for you, then of course manufacturers, such as Mitsubishi Electric, can support machine builders and robot integrators alike in selecting the most suitable alternative. You can choose between state-of-the-art PLCs and dedicated robot controllers to match the requirements of your system. 

In addition, when the best of both systems (see what we did there) is needed, Mitsubishi Electric offers the unique option of integrating a dedicated robot controller directly into the PLC rack. In the end, the control requirements and the physical attributes of the application often dictate which option is best, but for machine builders and integrators alike, it would be sensible to adopt a flexible, integrated automation solution that offered choice and scalability.

Looking for More Information? We Can Help With That...

Robot controllers are an innovative development, but with all the aspects to consider, it's hard to help you decide just from one webpage, so check out the LC Automation Robot Controllers product page (linked on the right), but remember that our Sales and Technical Support Engineers are here to answer any questions you may have. Get in touch on 01254 685900 and we'll be happy to help.

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