Adding a PLC to Expand I/O Capabilities on Baxter & Sawyer

Out of the box Baxter and Sawyer from Rethink Robotics allow users to train the robot tasks in minutes using the Intera software platform. Also included in Intera is the ability to connect a PLC to expand I/O capabilities on both collaborative robots.

ONExia I/O PLC Box
ONExia I/O PLC Box

Our engineers have designed a simple to connect, simple to install solution for expanding I/O capabilities and adding a PLC to the robots. Our PLC I/O Box provides 12 programmable digital inputs and 12 digital outputs. It also includes a built in operating panel with on-board I/O configuration.

Box Mounted
PLC I/O Box Mounts Directly to the Pedestal

The PLC I/O Box adds I/O to Baxter and expands upon the standard 8 inputs and 8 outputs (strictly I/O) of Sawyer. Adding the box gives the “cobots” higher control of the work environment by enabling communication to external devices. Examples of controllable devices include:

  • Conveyor Controls
  • Vision Systems
  • Sensors
  • Safety Devices
  • Machines
  • Tools

Connecting the PLC I/O Box

Each PLC I/O Box from ONExia comes with all cables and cords needed. Connecting the box to the robot takes under 5 minutes.

Connect the robot to the box via Ethernet.
  1. Start with the physical connections of the box using the provided Ethernet cable and power cord. After both are connected the robot and PLC are powered on.
  2. When the robot has completed the startup process navigate to the “Configure Modbus” menu (Settings -> Hardware Setting -> Configure Modbus).
  3. Click the “+” button at the top of the screen to create a new Modbus device. At this point the device can be named to something more descriptive.
  4. Change the line in value and the line out value to what number is required for your operation. In our example we used 10.
  5. Set the IP address of the Modbus device you are adding to your robot’s network. In our example we used as the robot’s factory default IP address starts with 168.254.
  6. Click on the button with the symbol of the gear to enter the input/output base information. In our example the input base was set to 0 and the output base was set to 100. There is no need to enter any information into the parameters field.
  7. Click Back.
  8. Click Done.

On the list of Modbus devices their should now be a new entry (the name from step 3) with a green indicator on the right side. This indicates your device is configured and connected correctly.

Whether you are looking to add more I/O in order to execute an application, need more logic to an application, or both the ONExia PLC I/O Box is the solution.

For more information visit our about our PLC I/O Box visit or Rethink Robotics Accessories page or contact our applications engineers to discuss your application.

Author: Tim Pelesky

I am the marketing department at ONExia. When I am not promoting automation technology I can be found hiking our country, playing hockey, or defending the self given title as best golfer in the office.

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