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I need to simulate robotic cell where cartesian robot trims a PCB arriving on conveyor, picks it up with vacuum cup and and places in another device. After receiving signal from device the robot would pick it up and place on another belt. I want to make the cartesian robot myself using servomotors and control cell using a PLC. Would there be software that can simulate all this? I would also need to integrate sensors and possibly machine vision.

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A simple PLC is not meant to control a robot. You will at least need OpenPLC Motion Control capabilities for the PLC to control motions. Or you can opt for a motion controller to have better control over the motions.

If you are thinking of writing PLC code, running on the PLC, and you want to see what happens to motors/drive amplifiers when they receive a certain output, and what happens in your cell, you could use a virtual commissioning tool for example. Those are meant to simulate the plant, connected to a real PLC, and the PLC "has no idea" that the connected systems are just simulated, not real.

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  • $\begingroup$ I would argue that PLCs are built specifically to control robots; I don't know of any other platform that allows for so many sensor and signal connections, both input and output, and in so many formats - Ethernet, CAN, analog, etc. However, I would also agree that they are poor platforms for processing intensive applications like computer vision. But if the robot is going to be using any kind of process planning or feedback control (PID, state feedback, etc.) then PLCs are a great platform. $\endgroup$ – Chuck Mar 1 '16 at 21:56
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    $\begingroup$ The question refers to a cell with a PLC and servomotors. PLCs perform well when connected to a robot controller (which handles motion control) but perform poorly in motion control applications. This disadvantage of PLCs are somewhat improved by the OpenPLC motion contorl blocks, but it is still not comparable to a motion controller. $\endgroup$ – 50k4 Mar 3 '16 at 5:30
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Yes, this is possible to do. Check out some of these robotics simulators.

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    $\begingroup$ You reference a rather old closed question. The reason why list questions and shopping questions are less than useful is that their information goes out of date and their recommendations are subjective. If you could point out what the questioner should look for in simulation software, then this question has the potential to have lasting value, otherwise I will have to close it as just another shopping question. $\endgroup$ – Mark Booth Aug 3 '15 at 14:25

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