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PILZ robot manipulator module PRBT 6 in ROS

Package: pilz_robots

The meta package for the PILZ manipulator PRBT 6. Here you can find documentation of the individual packages. For a general overview and link collection we refer to the wiki page.

PRBT manipulator


To use the packages, you can install prebuilt packages with

sudo apt install ros-$ROS_DISTRO-pilz-robots

Build Status

Kinetic Melodic Noetic
Travis/Github CI Build Status CI-Melodic CI-Noetic
Buildfarm src buildfarm buildfarm buildfarm
Buildfarm bin buildfarm buildfarm buildfarm

Branching model

noetic-devel is considered to be the active development branch. Relevant changes are cherry-picked into melodic-devel or kinetic-devel on a case-by-case basis.

Supported hardware versions

PRBT firmware version 1.1.0

If you want to update your PRBT firmware please contact our repair center.

Package: prbt_support

The package contains the robot description of the PRBT manipulator.

  • urdf/ contains the xacros for generating the urdf descriptions of the PILZ robot PRBT.
  • meshes/ contains the stl files for visualization
  • test/ contains test files for urdf
    • build tests: catkin_make tests
    • build and run tests: catkin_make run_tests
  • config/ defines the controllers and drivers. Loads the specialized PilzTrajectoryController.

Pilz Coordinate Frames

To see the robot in rviz you can use roslaunch prbt_support test_urdf.launch

The joint directions are illustrated in the following image: Joints

Configure the tcp

You can easily adjust the tool center point frame with an offset and rotation in the xacro file.

  1. Open prbt_support/urdf/prbt.xacro
  2. Edit the lines to your desired offset
  <xacro:unless value="$(arg gripper)">
    <xacro:arg name="tcp_offset_xyz" default="0 0 0"/>
    <xacro:arg name="tcp_offset_rpy" default="0 0 0"/>

Note: You can set a different default if you have a gripper attached.

Package: prbt_moveit_config

The package is generated by moveit setup assistant. It contains configuration files and launch files needed to start up the robot including planning and execution.

PRBT with MotionPlanningPlugin in rviz

Configuring the robot

Use the launch file moveit_planning_execution.launch to bring up the robot controllers with the complete moveit pipeline. The launch file allows to set optional parameters

  • sim (default: True)
    true: Use fake execution and display emulated robot position in RViz
    false: connect to real robot using ros_canopen
  • pipeline (default: ompl)
    Planning pipeline to use with moveit
  • load_robot_description (default: True)
    Load robot description to parameter server. Can be set to false to let someone else load the model
  • rviz_config (default: prbt_moveit_config/launch/moveit.rviz)
    Start RViz with default configuration settings. Once you have changed the configuration and have saved it inside your package folder, set the path and file name here.
  • gripper (default: None)
    See Running the prbt with a gripper
  • safety_hw (default: pss4000)
    Connect to the safety controller that handles the safe-torque-off signal. Only relevant for sim:=False to issue a Safe stop 1. See prbt_hardware_support package.

Running the simulation

  1. Run roslaunch prbt_moveit_config moveit_planning_execution.launch sim:=true pipeline:=ompl
  2. Use the moveit Motion Planning rviz plugin to plan and execute (see e.g. ROS-I training exercise 3.4)

Running on the real robot

  1. Activate can interface: sudo ip link set can0 up type can bitrate 1000000 (after every reboot or reconnect of the CAN hardware). For persistent configuration append the following to the file /etc/network/interfaces
auto can0
iface can0 can static
        bitrate 1000000
  1. Run roslaunch prbt_moveit_config moveit_planning_execution.launch sim:=false pipeline:=ompl
  2. Use the moveit Motion Planning rviz plugin to plan and execute (see simulation section; set Velocity Scaling to 0.1 first)

Instead of OMPL use the industrial motion planners of Pilz for executing industrial robot commands like PTP, LIN, etc. For this install the package pilz_industrial_motion_planner:

sudo apt install ros-kinetic-pilz-trajectory-generation
sudo apt install ros-melodic-pilz-trajectory-generation
sudo apt install ros-noetic-pilz-industrial-motion-planner

then replace the pipeline in the above command by pipeline:=pilz_industrial_motion_planner.

Adjust expert parameters

If you've created an application package with your own launch file as described in the tutorials, you can easily adjust many other configuration parameters. See the comments in the pilz_tutorials package and templates in the pilz_templates repo.

Running the prbt with a gripper

Currently only the Schunk pg70 is supported. To run it, first install the package:

sudo apt install ros-$ROS_DISTRO-prbt-pg70-support

then start the robot like before but with the gripper:=pg70 set. Both simulation and real robot work.

Package: prbt_ikfast_manipulator_plugin

The package contains a moveit plugin for inverse kinematics of the manipulator, which is a wrapper of ikfast.cpp to the kinematics base interface of moveit.

Package: pilz_control

Contains a specialized version of ros_controllers::JointTrajectoryController which can be put into a holding mode. A controlled stop using a hold trajectory is performed thus stopping the manipulator without the mechanical stress of a hard brake. Further, the controller monitors cartesian speed and joint accelerations to fulfill the requirements of the selected operation mode.

Topic interface deprecated: See here

Package: prbt_hardware_support

This package provides support for the Pilz hardware PNOZmulti and PSS4000. A configurable modbus connection is set up via roslaunch prbt_hardware_support modbus_client.launch. Particular features (detailed description here):

  • Stop1 functionality
  • Safe Brake Control functionality
  • Operation modes T1 (reduced speed) and AUTOMATIC

Package: prbt_gazebo

Provides a launch file to run the prbt manipulator inside gazebo.

Package: pilz_status_indicator_rqt

This package defines an rqt-plugin to display information about the robots state to the user. It will show:

  • Current operation mode
  • Operation state of the robot (PRBT)
  • Operation state of the ROS system
  • Current speed override

The Status Indicator Widget

It can be launched with rosrun pilz_status_indicator_rqt pilz_status_indicator_rqt in a floating, standalone rqt instance. Alternatively it can be integrated in an existing rqt environment next to other widgets, if required.

You need further information?

Our international hotline staff will support you individually about our ROS packages at

Find more information about the Pilz manipulator module on the product website.

Visit us at

Pilz is an international-scale, innovative automation technology company. Pilz uses its solutions to create safety for man, machine and the environment. In addition to head office in Ostfildern near Stuttgart, the family business is represented over 2,400 employees at 42 subsidiaries and branches on all continents.

The company’s products include sensor technology, electronic monitoring relays, safety relays, configurable and programmable control systems, automation solutions with motion control, systems for industrial communication as well as visualization solutions and operator terminals.

Pilz solutions can be used in all areas of mechanical engineering, including the packaging and automotive sector, plus the railway technology, press and wind energy sectors. These solutions ensure that baggage handling systems run safely at airports and funiculars or roller coasters travel safely; they also guarantee fire protection and energy supply in buildings.