Table of Contents


The prbt_hardware_support package provides support for the Pilz hardware PNOZmulti and PSS 4000. A number of safety features are provided which are essential for a DIN EN ISO 10218-1 certifiable robot system (for more information see section about supported DIN EN ISO 10218-1 safety features).

Due to the fact, that the communication between the Pilz safety controllers and ROS is based on the Modbus communication protocol, the package also contains C++ files providing ROS support for the Modbus communication protocol.

In the system overview section, you can find a component diagram showing the overall architecture of our system. The component diagram shows all our nodes and the connections between them.

Please note: The launch files included in the prbt_hardware_support package don't need to be called directly by the user. They already are included in our top-level launch file (for more information on how-to run the PRBT robot with ROS see the pilz_robots-README and our application templates.

Supported DIN EN ISO 10218-1 safety features

The prbt_hardware_support package provides support for a number of safety features which are essential for a DIN EN ISO 10218-1 certifiable robot system.

Please note: The DIN EN ISO 10218-1 support is currently WORK IN PROGRESS.

Needed/supported hardware

In order for the safety features to work, one needs special hardware components supporting the required safety features. Currently, we test all our features against the following hardware setup:

How-to activate and deactivate hardware features

The following table shows the names and the possible argument values of the features supported by our hardware. The features can be configured via arguments of prbt_support/launch/robot.launch.

Parameter DescriptionArgument name in robot.launch Possible values in robot.launch
Gripper Model gripper *<arg unset>*, pg70
Safety Controller Hardware safety_hw *pss4000*, pnoz
Brake Test Support has_braketest_support *true*, false
Operation Mode Support has_operation_mode_support *true*, false
Visual Status Indicator visual_status_indicator *true*, false

With pg70 referring to Schunk PG plus 70. For more on gripper models see prbt_grippers.

The optional argument iso10218_support can be used to start ROS without connecting to a safety controller. Keep in mind that this disables all safety features, so it should only be used for debugging purposes.

Currently, we only support the following configurations depending on the safety controller. If the safety controller is changed, please ensure that the arguments are set as shown in the table.

Argument name Default value with PSS400 Default value with PNOZmulti
safety_hw pss4000 pnoz
has_braketest_support true false
has_operation_mode_support true true
visual_status_indicator true true



The RUN_PERMITTED is a state required in the safety controller for the robot to operate. It is sent to the ROS system to inform it in the case of an upcoming STO of the robot.

Please note: The ROS nodes only react on changes of the signal, so it may be necessary to re-trigger RUN_PERMITTED in order to enable the drives at start.


The STO function (“Safe torque off”) of the robot arm is a safety function to immediately turn off torque of the drives. The behavior triggers the RUN_PERMITTED signal.


The SBC function ("Safe brake control") of the robot arm is a safety function which is used in conjunction with the RUN_PERMITTED and prevents a motion when the torque of the drives is turned off.

Safe stop 1 (SS1)

To allow a controlled stop, the safety controller delays the STO signal by several milliseconds. The STO signal, otherwise, would lead to an immediate stop of the robot via Stop 0. The time delay gives the ros_control time to stop the drives with a well defined brake ramp. The safety controller informs the ros_control about the stop request via Modbus connection. The Modbus connection is opened by this package. After the execution of the brake ramp, the drivers are halted.

Please note: Should ROS fail (for what ever reason), the safety controller still ensures that the robot is stopped by executing a Stop 0. The Stop 0 is executed after the above described time delay.

Brake test

Brake tests are an integral part of the safe brake control (SBC) functionality, since they detect malfunctions of the brakes or the brake control in general. Brake tests for each drive have to be executed at a regular interval. When the safety controller requests brake tests, they have to be executed within 1 hour, else the robot cannot be moved anymore.

Operation Modes

The robot system can be controlled in various modes.

These modes are:

See DIN EN ISO 10218-1 for more details or contact us:

Please note: In operation mode T1 the robot can be moved as usual. However, if an attempt to exceed the speed limit of 250 mm/s in T1 is detected, the current motion is aborted and a controlled stop is performed. For more information see the speed monitoring section.

Speed monitoring

DIN EN ISO 10218-1 requires that in operation mode T1 no part of the robot moves faster than 250 mm/s. To meet this requirement, the PilzJointTrajectoryController checks the target velocity for each robot-frame. If one or more robot-frames exceed the allowed speed limit, the controller executes a safe stop 1. (For more information about the safe stop 1, see safe stop 1 section). To re-enable the system, the user needs to release and, subsequently, press the enabling switch.

Please note: Currently, only one of the PILZ controllers, namely the PilzJointTrajectoryController, can perform the speed monitoring required by DIN EN ISO 10218-1.

Possible error cases and their handling

Error cases Handling
Modbus client crashes ROS system is shutdown which leads to an abrupt stop of the robot.
RUN_PERMITTED Modbus adapter crashes ROS system is shutdown which leads to an abrupt stop of the robot.
Connection loss between PNOZmulti/PSS4000 & Modbus client Stop 1 is triggered
System overload (messages don't arrive in time) In case a Stop 1 message does not arrive in time, the safety controller will automatically perform a hard stop. In case a Stop 1-release message does not get through, brakes will remain closed.
RUN_PERMITTED Modbus adapter cannot connect to stop services ROS system will not start.
RUN_PERMITTED Modbus adapter cannot connect to recover services Node does start and robot can be moved until a stop is triggered. Afterwards the brakes will remain closed.

Overview system components

The following diagram shows all components of the system and the connections between them.

Component diagram of overall architecture


A Modbus client (for usage with the PNOZmulti or PSS4000) can be started with roslaunch prbt_hardware_support modbus_client.launch.

Published Topics


Please note:


The ModbusAdapterRunPermitted is noticed via the topic /pilz_modbus_client_node/modbus_read if the RUN_PERMITTED is true or false and reacts as follows calling the corresponding services of the controllers and drivers:


The ModbusAdapterBrakeTestNode offers the /prbt/brake_test_required service which informs if the PSS4000 requests a brake test or if a brake test request is no longer prevailing.


The BraketestExecutorNode offers the /execute_braketest service which, in interaction with the CanOpenBraketestAdapter, executes a braketest on each drive of the manipulator. This can only be done, if the robot is stopped. So, if you want to execute a braketest, ensure that the robot stands still.


The ModbusAdapterOperationModeNode publishes the active operation mode on the topic /prbt/operation_mode everytime it changes and offers the /get_operation_mode service for accessing the active operation mode.

Use rosmsg show pilz_msgs/OperationModes to see the definition of each value.


The OperationModeSetupExecutorNode activates the speed monitoring for operation mode T1 and offers a service /prbt/get_speed_override. The speed override is chosen such that a speed limit violation is unlikely if all robot motions are scaled with it.

*Not supported yet

autogenerated on Thu Jul 22 2021 02:10:35