Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm (SCARA) assemblies are widely used in semiconductor manufacturing because they excel at performing motions in a horizontal plane, where most wafer-handling movements take place. Like any high-voltage machinery moving at high speeds, SCARA robots can cause significant damage to their own components and to surrounding machines if they malfunction. To help prevent such an occurrence, engineers at 3T designed an emergency braking system for SCARA robots.
When the project began, the team at 3T did not know whether a braking system could be designed to stop the robot in time to prevent a collision without damage to the robot itself. 3T engineers used Model-Based Design with MATLAB® and Simulink® to conduct a feasibility study, identify a solution, and implement a real-time braking system controller on an FPGA.
“Model-Based Design enabled us to quickly try different control approaches to see what would work and what would not,” says Ronald van der Meer, systems engineer at 3T. “To minimize hardware testing and debugging in the cleanroom, we tested and refined our solution via simulation in Simulink and then used code generation with HDL Coder to implement it once it was verified.”