Connecting Kuka Arm to Arduino using Media Flange

  • Hi,


    I am trying to integrate an Arduino to the KUKA IIWA LBR14 to an Arduino using a Media flange.

    I was wondering if it is possible and what kind of connections or additional tools are needed?

  • AD
  • you can connect things mechanically using suitable nuts and bolts and maybe adapter plate.

    if it is a basic flange, that's it.

    if it is one that has I/O, you can use that too but your Arduino will need suitable shield for 24V signals.

    but to really get the most out of it, you would use Etherent of some sorts.


    KUKA uses EtherCat for I/O so probably the best way is to use EtherCat shield and have Arduino act just like normal EtherCat I/O. This is fast way to transfer large blocks of data.

    1) read pinned topic: READ FIRST...

    2) if you have an issue with robot, post question in the correct forum section... do NOT contact me directly

    3) read 1 and 2

  • I currently am trying to use the Media Touch Electrical, would it be better to use the Electrical I/O?

    Also, if I am trying to control the Arduino through the Kuka would all I need is a EtherCAT shield to connect and communicate between the two devices?


    Thank you

  • do you have robot or plan on buying one?

    if you already have it you cannot just pick some random media flange - it has to be the one your robot is fitted with.


    Sunrise controller uses EtherCat I/O. So adding any device to it via EtherCat is only natural. To make Arduino an EtherCat slave you need mentioned EtherCat shield. That is not enough, you need to do some programming which is included.


    Also on robot side you will need to modify WorkVisual project, add the mentioned EtherCat slave into DTM catalog and then insert it into project and map I/O. Then Arduino and robot can send some signals to each other.


    The other option is to not use EtherCat but try classic TCPIP connection using Etherent sockets.

    This means you still need a shield but the Ethernet type, not EtherCat. And you would need to choose on who is acting as client and who is server, develop some code etc. This does not require any modification on the WorkVisual side.

    1) read pinned topic: READ FIRST...

    2) if you have an issue with robot, post question in the correct forum section... do NOT contact me directly

    3) read 1 and 2

  • very few places use AC levels for PLC I/O.


    i would say that 110VAC I/O is just as popular in USA as 220VAC I/O is in Europe. :P


    they both exists and have their use but most people don't ever see them. pretty much everywhere you look it is all 24VDC. AC may make sense only in few special cases like slow signals over long distances where wiring is sharing same conduits with other AC wiring, or large loads or simple hardwired start/stop logic for single AC load such as circular saw, some heavy door etc.


    also using AC I/O (or anything over 24V) on LBR iiwa is something one would do on their own risk.

    btw 24V polarity also differs around the world and reference terminal on the 24V PSU may be different depending where you are. Japan uses NPN so negative voltage is "TRUE" and positive side is reference or "0V". if you are ordering I/O with your robot, you need to specify polarity. some products like IOB support both positive and negative levels but wiring may be different. And Japanese companies here still use the "NPN" (example near me are automotive plants Honda, Toyota and some of their suppliers)


    but MOM does bring good point - you can exchange small number of signals using discrete wiring if your robot has some I/O. you just need to watch for proper polarity and voltage levels. if you need more than few signals, or you need analog etc this becomes messy and expensive. the thing to keep in mind that 24VDC I/O your robot can use are not fast. At best you get 1ms or so response time. so bit-banging data or streaming values using some sort of serial bus (SPI, I2C etc) is just not worth it. I had done that on few occasions with things like OnRobot gripper. you can make it work but it is slow.

    1) read pinned topic: READ FIRST...

    2) if you have an issue with robot, post question in the correct forum section... do NOT contact me directly

    3) read 1 and 2

  • Thanks for the responses and advice.

    I just checked, and I have a media flange electrical touch with my Kuka robot.

    I am currently in North America so I would be using 110V.

  • bad idea... there is nothing in media flange documentation mentioning AC levels. from what i see, all IO on the robot are 24VDC.

    1) read pinned topic: READ FIRST...

    2) if you have an issue with robot, post question in the correct forum section... do NOT contact me directly

    3) read 1 and 2

  • I was wondering, what would I need to buy to electrically connect an Arduino mega to the Kuka.

    I have a Kuka IIWRA LBR14 with a Media Touch Electrical Flange.

    I am trying to enable communication and power between the Kuka and Arduino Mega.

    Would I just need the shield?


    Sorry if I'm reasking the same questions, I am just a little confused.

    If there is any additional resources I would be extremely grateful.

  • you still did not explain what it is that you want to accomplish.


    how much data and how fast you want to exchange? which direction? not really familiar with shields assortment but every project starts with defining some objectives.

    1) read pinned topic: READ FIRST...

    2) if you have an issue with robot, post question in the correct forum section... do NOT contact me directly

    3) read 1 and 2

  • I am trying to use the Kuka robot arm to work with a gripper, which is powered by an Arduino.

    I was thinking of making the connection 2-directions so that when the Kuka's arm is at a certain position, the gripper can open.

  • you are still not answering questions. how much data you need and how fast? what is more important to you - bandwidth or IOs?


    i glanced at Arduino at shields on Amazon and could not see one that would be fit for this. you can of course always make your own which is not hard. also having isolation is always a good thing.


    assuming you would be happy with just couple of I/O and no multiplexing, shifting, ethernet drivers etc. then few optocouplers, diodes, leds and resistors would do nicely.


    perhaps something like this:

  • I made a 3D printed single and dual gripper (out of SG90 servo's cheap as anything, but no torque using rack and pinion drive) and gripper controller using Arduino Nano and a self made opto isolator interface for 3 inputs and 3 outputs for the 24V to 5V switching logic (much in the way panic mode has described) all mounted in a 3D printed enclosure and display mounted to my pet Kawasaki (very Heath Robinson, but conceptually sound).


    Things to consider:

    - Arduino operates off lower voltages 5v, 3.3v etc.

    - Arduino limited to 5v logic control for IO.

    - Variable step down/up buck converter can be used to satisfy power supply requirements for Arduino.

    - Grippers usually require more voltage and current than an Arduino output can directly supply.

    - Arduino outputs could be used to directly drive relays to switch higher voltage/current to gripper.

    - Arduino Inputs (like panic mode suggested) would need opto's to drive and isolate control from logic.


    Not knowing Kuka personally, but I would expect at the EOAT end of the robot, that there would be a supply voltage available like 24v, so something could be integrated as far as an Arduino controlled gripper IMHO.

    Arduino Mega is bulky for sure, but if it's just a couple of standard IO, a nano would probably be sufficient for sure.


    Below was made using:

    - Arduino Nano

    - 2x SG90 Servo's

    - 6x PC817 Optoisolator

    - Bread board

    - Connectors

    - 2x Buck converters (1 Arduino supply, 1 for SG90 Servo power)

    - 1 OLED display

    - 1 Rotary Encoder and button for menu select

    - Enclosure and Grippers were all 3D printed and grippers used a simple rack and pinion drive.



    robot-forum.com/attachment/34221/

  • Much appreciated indeed.


    I did expand this, with making 3D printed conveyor controlled from an Arduino Mega but ultimately enabled from the robot in much the same way.

    Pixycam connected to the mega via RS232 sending the coordinate data of the detected color spot.

    Post processing it in the Arduino and then sending the values to the robot via TCP/IP.


    All good fun and a nice learning journey too.

    So if Pt13 is looking at the concept of Arduino and Industrial Robot integration, it's absolutely doable.


    I'm particularly interested in your link to Ethercat shield, as I never knew they did one, so I'm going to get hold of one now and have another play, so thanks for the link.

  • yes, most of the shields are using conventional Ethernet (W5500 etc.). Shields with industrial fieldbuses are rare. There are few others but either too expensive or not released or hard to get. i was thinking about making my own version similar to one at the top of the thread.

    1) read pinned topic: READ FIRST...

    2) if you have an issue with robot, post question in the correct forum section... do NOT contact me directly

    3) read 1 and 2

  • they are great ready to use products but they are both meant to be inside cabinet.

    iiwa is a smooth collaborative robot arm without drilled holes or other features to mount things on shoulder. so anything mounted and interfaced to flange - need to be attached to flange itself.

    1) read pinned topic: READ FIRST...

    2) if you have an issue with robot, post question in the correct forum section... do NOT contact me directly

    3) read 1 and 2

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