There are two kinds of robot operators: those who are doing it for the first time and those who have done it numerous times before. Needless to say, programming a robot is a unique skill that when done wrong could lead to immense losses.
Here are some tips to help you handle the programming like a pro.
Understand the Use and Limitations
With an assembly robot, you can streamline a lot of processes in manufacturing plants but you first want to study and understand it before putting it to work.
You see, these machines cannot deduce or understand your needs. Rather, they are designed to do exactly as they are told to do.
In that case, you need to be careful about what you program your robot to do keeping in mind that industrial robot applications are diversified.
Still, if you want your machine to perform a simple task, you have to ensure that it moves at the right speed and in harmony with the rest of your machinery without exceeding limits where accuracy will be compromised.
Establish Your “Happy Path”
When it comes to software development, a scenario in which no exceptions or errors occur is what is referred to as the “Happy Path’. This is supposed to be indefinitely recurrent which means that your machine could be at it forever without maintenance or interruption.
Robots efficiently perform the same tasks in industrial scenarios. They can work around the clock for years with minimal downtime and need for maintenance if you so wished.
However, they can only do that if there are no issues regarding parts and whatever they are involved in processing. Because of this, where each movement is repeated, the most recurrent and repeatable robotic movement has to be programmed according to a position that allows continuous operation.
This requires you to understand limitations including when a motion is impossible.
Be Ready for the Worst
Several input numbers could push an assembly robot off its happy path and as you can imagine, that would not be ideal.
A collisional object, a misplaced part, or a wrongly timed movement can cause interference in the production process.
In that regard, you want to prepare for the worst. Most of these robots feature a cage or a containment mechanism that is supposed to be used when they are in operation.
Meanwhile, cobots also feature in-built safety features that block collisions from damaging other equipment and people. Collisions can hinder operations and will cost you in terms of wasted capacity and downtime.
By visualizing the worst that can happen when your robot is working, you get to put measures in place to cushion you financially or otherwise.
You also want to keep in mind that regardless of the knowledge level a particular robot has, these machines have only been around for several decades. This means that you cannot afford to ignore any safety measures. Even the smartest people can do the stupidest things.
Determine How Long You Can Stay Off the Floor
Programming is not only a perfection-demanding process but also a time-consuming one. What this means is that it may take longer than expected and as a busy individual, you would want to reduce how much time the programming process takes.
One thing you need to know is that offline programming solutions offer a great way of reducing the final costs associated with robot programming. By working in a digital environment and seeing the various sequences and commands you introduce actualize, you will be in a better position to program your robot based on CAD part files without needing to get into the production environment.
That said, you will have to comprehend the material flow and layout through the environment as well as test off-line produced programs in the actual robotic cell before the program is used in production. In the end, this is a small price to pay considering it shortens the learning time for your next installation.
Offline programming is a practical application for those who do not mind programming a robotic cell manually while reducing downtime.
Stay Updated about Production
When it comes to robotic procedures, robots can remain the same for years and new end effectors can offer more bandwidth, accuracy, and user-friendliness all of which can prolong a robot’s lifespan for particular operations while further enhancing productivity, consistency, and quality.
With robotic programming, it is extremely necessary to not hinder the “water’s edge”. Robots do play a role in industrial procedures but you want to keep in mind is that these machines can make the perfect solution or simply add complexity to tasks.
For value-added procedures, it’s also necessary to think about where the equipment supporting your robot is likely to change. For example, jigging can help simplify some robotic welding applications, particularly when dealing with tubular, boxy, and large parts.
At times, knowing where the equipment will come in handy can help make a single kind of shape enjoy massive productivity benefits in the long run.
Do Not Program
Yes, this does sound contradictory but hear us out. Just as with art or any other activity that people engage in, programming can be a passion for some people. For others, it is just a cumbersome and boring task that they need to get out of the way.
During such times, robots can also play a part.
With autonomous manufacturing robots, you eliminate the need to program since they can produce robotic motions in real-time using 3D reconstructions and real-time sensors among others.
You can do away with programming and even forget about it with this capability at your disposal. These robots allow integrators and engineers to deploy more robots within a short time with better responsiveness and less work.
This means that manufacturers can finally make the most out of robotic automation. As soon as it is set up, the procedure virtually takes care of itself while allowing you to improve the process output using precise, easy-to-understand instructions without having to constantly program the robot.
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