Automation Builder: Integrating automation and motion for higher engineering productivity
Automate machines and systems in an integrated way – PLC, HMI, drives, motion, safety and robots
ABB Automation Builder is the new integrated software suite for machine builders and system integrators that want to automate their machines and systems in an integrated and productive way.
The software package contains the programming and configuration tool for the ABB AC500 PLC, Control Builder Plus. AC drives parameterization and drive application programming are integrated as plug-ins. ABB also includes Mint WorkBench, the comprehensive motion programming and application development environment for MINT, and the market leading offline robot programming and simulation tool, RobotStudio.
Additionally included are the Panel Builder software for the touch screen panel series CP600. The underlying Automation Builder Platform allows common data storage and usage of common functionality by the integrated software tools.
For users, the ABB Automation Builder delivers significant engineering productivity improvements, including simplified management and maintenance of the entire automation project. This helps to save time and to increase software quality by consistent data and software versions.
With the Automation Builder, several MINT drives can be combined in one PLC automation project, and they can be configured and programmed from a single software suite. With a choice of various programming languages, the most suitable language for the particular application is available. At the same time, the USB-ROM distribution medium with a common installer ensures trouble-free and quick installation – on a customer-specific or project-specific basis.
The ABB Automation Builder contains the following components and functionalities:
- Installation manager
The installation of the various software packages from the USB-ROM stick can be configured on a user-specific basis. The memory space on the hard disk and the installation time can thus be adapted to reflect the requirements. Individual components and update packages from ABB can easily be installed at a later date if necessary.
- Engineering platform
The engineering platform is the core of the Automation Builder suite. All tools save their project data in the platform, which also provides a shared object data structure for configuration. The relevant plug-ins and tools for the different devices are started from the platform. It is also the portal for web-based content, like application examples, device descriptors, news and software updates.
- Engineering of AC500 and AC500-eCo PLC ranges
The PLC configuration, programming, debugging and diagnostics are based on the PLC engineering tool Control Builder Plus in the new version 2.3. CODESYS technology guarantees comprehensive PLC functionality. It is now also possible to perform integrated C programming via the GNU compiler for the AC500 PLC. The integration of the devices via standardized fieldbuses ensures openness to third-party devices.
- Configuration and programming of AC500-S safety PLC
The configuration and programming of the AC500-S safety controller is seamlessly integrated into the Automation Builder. The AC500-S can optionally be combined with non-safe devices in the project. The programming takes place analogously to the standard PLC, but with a safety-certified editor in accordance with SIL 3 (IEC 61508) and PL e (ISO 13849). Unique features that should be emphasized are the safety programming in Structured Text (ST) and the use of trigonometric functions, for example for kinematic calculations.
- Human Machine Interface – CP600 touch panels
The Automation Builder also offers various options for flexibly creating a user interface for the ABB control panel family CP600, using web visualization or the Panel Builder 600 V1.8. Here joint project data management is implemented, too.
- Configuration and programming of ACS drives
The updated, integrated Drive Manager permits the remote configuration and online diagnostics of ABB low-voltage drives via the PLC network, which speeds up commissioning and diagnostic of the entire system. A new feature is the application programming of the AC drive ACS880 with an embedded PLC based on CODESYS. System integrators and machine builders can utilize the drive-based control with the drive’s inputs and outputs to implement cost-effective, decentralized control.
- Motion control – MicroFlex e150 servo drive
With the integration of Mint Workbench V5706 into the Automation Builder, it is now possible to use the EtherCAT servo drive MicroFlex e150 with an AC500 as central multi-axis motion controller. A dedicated motion control library based on PLCopen is available. Hereby, the ABB motion control offering around the MINT product lines NextMove, MotiFlex and MicroFlex is extended by a PLC-based solution.
- Robot interface – IRC5 robot controller
The latest version of RobotStudio, the software tool for the configuration, programming and simulation of ABB robots, is part of the Automation Builder suite. Essential new features of version 5.15 are improved ease of use, new robot models and the option to import larger amounts of CAD data by Windows 64-bit support. The robot controller is quickly connected to the AC500 PLC as a fieldbus device. Common fieldbus I/O signals are defined and transferred to RobotStudio. From there, the IRC5 I/O communication can then be configured easily and consistently. This means that the PLC and the robot become part of the same automation project and inconsistent interfaces are now a thing of the past.