Video: Simulation Replaces Iteration in Robot Programming

Octopuz is a small robotic cell simulation software company.

James Anderton: Ever since General Motors installed that first Unimate robot in a New Jersey die-casting plant in 1961, programming industrial robotics has been about cycling the machine and seeing what it does. It was an iterative process, and you basically tried until you got the motion you wanted. What if there’s a better way? I’m with Natalie Adams of Octopuz Inc. Natalie, we’re looking at an example here of a simulation of a Universal Robot, one that’s right here, in fact. Why simulate? What does it do for me?

Natalie Adams: Simulation has multiple purposes. First of all, it can be a proof of concept. For example, for sales tools. An integrator can use a simulation to prove a concept to a customer before they actually make the purchase, so they can see their whole cell, they can simulate the program, and see how it will all end up looking.

Another reason why people will simulate is to determine whether there’s any singularities that they want to avoid, or any glitches that they want might want to adjust in a program before actually performing that program on the robot. That way, they can save their equipment. It’s a big investment, so it may be better to simulate it in advance. That way, you can tell if there’s any adjustments that need to be made in advance.

JA: Now, how do I do it? Do I use g-code in the program?

NA: It’s actually very user friendly. It’s very simple to use. (offscreen) You can kind of see on this side of the panel there’s a variety of items that you can simply drag and drop, and you connect them and that creates a program itself, so you create these paths and it’ll follow the path.  It’s very simple to use because it’s meant to be used by people who don’t even know how to program.

JA: Oh, so a non-robot-programmer can still simulate robot motion?

NA: Absolutely, yeah! We provide some basic training that you can use, but simple pick-and-place applications for example are so simple that even someone who hasn’t received any professional training can learn to do them.

In welding, for example, that gets a little more specific, where you might need to know a little bit of a background on paths and Mastercam, but for the most part it’s very simple to use.

JA: Typically, what sort of user would use this package?

NA: Is it’s anything from end users to integrators. The integrators typically have a stronger background in programming, and typically use more a higher level of Octopuz that allows them to make more specific changes, create custom parts, and more custom items in Octopuz. The end user may just use items that are included in our library. We have a wide variety of items, that include different robot manufacturers, different parts that you can just simply drag and drop, that you can practice on; But we will bring in your CAD file for you, and that way you don’t have to worry about that part.

JA: Natalie, I understand that that Octopuz is UR+ certified.

NA: Yes!

JA: I’m looking an example of a Universal Robot simulation, and in a moment, we’ll actually see it in real life. What’s the advantage of being UR+ certified?

NA: Well, the advantage is that we get a lot of recognition for that.  As we are still growing, it gives that kind of authority in the industry. We work very closely with Universal robots and collaborate a lot with them. As you can see at this show and on multiple projects and customers that they recognize.

JA: To eliminate wasted time and guesswork, simulate your robotic motion controls says Natalie Adams of Octopuz.

Written by

James Anderton

Jim Anderton is the Director of Content for Mr. Anderton was formerly editor of Canadian Metalworking Magazine and has contributed to a wide range of print and on-line publications, including Design Engineering, Canadian Plastics, Service Station and Garage Management, Autovision, and the National Post. He also brings prior industry experience in quality and part design for a Tier One automotive supplier.