Robot Motion Planning Gets a Boost in Japan

Boston’s Realtime Robotics has been invited by the Japanese Government to participate in a pair of trials to expand industrial robot efficiency.

This image shows RapidPlan's Auto-Connect feature, which shows all the collision-free intelligent path options. You can then inspect the provided paths for each robot or for all of them. The grey clouds around the robots are space reservations for each robot movement, which are immediately released upon the move completion. They represent how much space each robot would need for the chosen paths to avoid a collision with either the frame, other robots or other obstacles. (Image: Realtime Robotics)

RapidPlan’s Auto-Connect feature pictured above shows all the collision-free intelligent path options. You can then inspect the provided paths for each robot or for all of them. The grey clouds around the robots are space reservations for each robot movement, which are immediately released upon the move completion. They represent how much space each robot would need for the chosen paths to avoid a collision with either the frame, other robots or other obstacles. (Image: Realtime Robotics)

Realtime Robotics, a Boston-based developer of motion planning for industrial robots, has been selected by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) for a Japanese government subsidy program to expand the use of industrial robots and promote the standardization of system integrator operations.

JETRO is a government-related organization that promotes mutual trade and investment between Japan and the rest of the world. Originally established in 1958 to promote Japanese exports abroad, JETRO’s core focus in the 21st century has shifted toward promoting foreign direct investment into Japan and helping small to medium size Japanese firms maximize their global export potential.

Realtime Robotics is currently developing a pair of robotics applications that make industrial automation easier and faster to deploy. The development of these applications will be accelerated as a part of the JETRO program.

For the first application, the software developer is working with automation and robotics equipment maker FANUC on a plug-in enabling Realtime’s robot programming and motion control software, RapidPlan, to be operated directly within FANUC’s simulation software, ROBOGUIDE.

The plug-in will configure a ROBOGUIDE as usual, including the layout, robot selection and end-of-arm tooling, and then transfer it directly to Realtime Robotics’ RapidPlan software. This makes it possible for users to send a sequenced list of positions necessary for robots to complete a job, which RapidPlan can then use to calculate optimal collision-free paths for the robots to execute. This eliminates the tedious and repetitive manual analysis of robot motion paths to insert waypoints or robot-to-robot interlocks in different parts of the program to avoid collisions.

The second development is being worked on in partnership with Denso, a Japanese production systems provider. The aim is to evaluate how Realtime Robotics’ RapidPlan can help improve its Denso’s flexible production units.

Denso’s DX-CELL, a multiple robot work cell, helps manufacturers accommodate an increasing amount of variable product needs by making it easier to change the robot layout as needed. Denso expects that RapidPlan will help DX-CELL users more easily program this work cell.

Denso and Realtime are also exploring partnership on other projects, including multi-robot assembly, inspection and bin picking, as improving efficiency will become even more important as the use of industrial robots expands across several different industries.

“It is an exciting time for manufacturing and robotics companies – and those who work with them,” said Koji Kobayashi, Vice President of Business Development, Japan, at Realtime Robotics. “New, innovative technologies, such as our RapidPlan software, are opening the door to previously unheard of levels of automation efficiency and effectiveness.”