June 17, 2020

Rocketfarm creates app to assist with machine-to-machine communication

The market leading producer of collaborative robots, Universal Robots, is now supporting the OPC UA standard to their robots.

Norwegian software company Rocketfarm has developed the application that enables UR robots to support OPC UA. Available through the developer network UR+.

“We initially developed the software for a local factory but thought it would be great if this functionality could be available for anyone who wants to connect UR robots with OPC UA. Finally, we have a version that fully complies with the OPC UA standard, including necessary security features,” said Egil Mundal, CEO of Rocketfarm.

Integration to Industry 4.0

The OPC UA (Universal Architecture) protocol is one of the fastest growing standards for machine-to-machine communication and is a key component in “Industry 4.0.” The protocol is used to enable data to flow from the production layer to either the business layer or monitoring systems.

“We know there have been a lot of requests to support OPC UA on UR robots. With this enabled it will open even more doors for our robots and play an important role in key markets,” said Christian Fenk, UR+ Ecosystem Manager – EMEA at UR.

The UR+ network works as an app store for UR robots, where UR certifies both hardware and software to be used together with any of the UR models.

No out-of-the-box solution

The robot itself does not support OPC UA out of the box. The necessary software can be downloaded and installed from the UR+ partner Rocketfarm. The firm has worked on the URCap for more than a year. The URCap translates information from the UR robot to OPC UA compatible information. By incorporating the translation in the robot, factories and production facilities avoid installing external hardware to handle the OPC UA translation.

This provides a simple and easy solution for larger and smaller production facilities to connect their UR collaborative robots to their monitoring systems. To improve the accessibility of the URCap. Rocketfarm is offering a 30-day free trial of the full license. The license enables any company with an UR robot to test the benefits of the OPC UA with no commitment.

A license for the URCap can be acquired through Rocketfarm or through UR+, OPC UA Client/Server.

About Rocketfarm

Rocketfarm is a Norwegian-based software company. It specializes in applications for collaborative robots (cobots) from Universal Robots. Rocketfarm has worked with cobots since the early days of their emergence, working both on their own products and as consultants. Rocketfarm is a certified UR+ developer.