Teaching robots is a time-consuming and laborious task, especially when you’re manually teaching robots. Particularly with robots of niche applications, use cases, and robots with complex movements or robots within specific environments like industries and production. Robotic technology is continuously evolving, and so is its complexity. However, robotic tech is also becoming easier to use, more accessible, and more adaptable with increasing complexity. Conversely, teaching robots through traditional approaches like Teach Pendants is getting more and more challenging and complex.
The Robotics industry is complex because of the sheer complexity of the technology and the cost of developing, building, and deploying a robot. Robot research and development and deploying robots are challenging tasks because of the sensitive nature of testing in robotics. Testing a robot is an expensive task. Consuming massive resources and time, testing robots along with training them is a very resource-intensive task.
However, due to the advancement of technology and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIR) inching closer and closer, industries are rushing towards digital technology and automation, which, in some scenarios like industries and production only possible with robots. Consequently, the importance of robotics in the production industry is increasing day by day. As a result, manufacturers and production sites are getting more eager to adopt their production line with robots with digital technology at its core. And manually teaching robots would only slow the production down and eventually leave you behind in the competition.
The Complexity in Robotics
With robotics comes its complexity. A robot is not a single entity but an integration of several different parts, components, and systems working together. These parts, components, and systems are usually various mechanical parts, motors, actuators, hydraulics, sensors, processing systems, networking interfaces, and many more. These components are very hard to build and even complex to perfect. Furthermore, integrating these parts to work together simultaneously with efficient cohesion to achieve a system that can perform specific tasks is complex on another level.
The integration may well be complete and the robot ready. But another major hurdle comes in the form of programming/coding the robot. Programming a simple robot with a particular function may be easy, but the robots that have to perform complex tasks while performing complex movements with precision are strenuous. This difficulty only scales up for industrial robots that have to accomplish tasks with accuracy and repeatability and perform various activities and functions within the production environment.
Why Manually Teaching Robots Will Hold You Back?
Programming a complex robot also requires a complex teaching process. The traditional approach to programming and coding robots is to use teaching pendants. Teaching pendants are a device that helps robot operators to control and program an industrial robot remotely. For example, these devices can code or teach a robot to follow a specific path or perform certain actions in a particular manner. With teaching pendants, robot operators or developers have to teach these robots manually.
Manual robot teaching may be easier on robots with low movement paths, simple actions, or singular axes. But industrial robots are a whole another story. They need to be constantly working in a usually adaptive and harsh environment of production. Such robots are complex and also very sensitive. Hence training the robots with teaching pendants is a difficult task. It is a very time-consuming task with the requirement of the teaching personnel to be present at all times. Furthermore, the robots have to be in teaching mode during all this time which means they cannot perform other tasks. Add this to the fact operators have to take them out of production during this long teaching process. All this makes manual teaching very cumbersome.
The downtime while teaching the robots is a massive issue to production. Moreover, this downtime is not only a one-time thing. Since industries have to be at the top of their game to thrive, they need to evolve and adapt over time. New changes and upgrades are necessary. Maintenance and repair works are inevitable. And even the failure of robots is not a common thing. All this requires teaching pendants, which is again very slow and a tedious approach to programming robots. It will add more delays, difficulties, costs and consume more resources. And this is a massive bottleneck for production.
Instead of wasting time in this slow and cumbersome manual approach, using new and better solutions with automation at its core is the way to go.
Learn About Offline Robot Programming
Offline Robot Programming is an “offline” approach to robot programming. Offline Programming (OLP) is a software solution to manually robot teaching by replacing the teaching pendants with simulation software. This “offline” solution teaches the robots virtually through software remotely. Thus, OLP takes leading away from the manual approach and takes out the requirement to remove the robots from production.
Although Offline Robot Programming is not a new technology, its evolution in recent years puts it in the spotlight in robot programming and the whole paradigm of robotics. It’s because of the advantages and benefits of using offline robot programming. Offline robot programming replaces the teach pendants with a more elegant solution. Furthermore, OLP allows for industries to train robots and their programming/coding through software updates. Robotic Programming Platforms also offer different software solutions to generate these instructions.
It means there is no need for the actual physical robot to be present in any generation phase or testing the training program/code. Instead, all this happens within the simulation technology inside the robotic programming platform itself. The evolution of simulation technology is so far ahead that it can now accurately simulate almost any object or environment with all the characteristics and behaviors of the original real-world object or environment.
Simulation technologies today can simulate every robot’s functionalities, features, and operations. Various behavior, states, and phenomena of robots and their components can simulate without manually teaching robots. Simulations can accurately simulate the mechanical elements of different parts with different materials and their operation in different environments and conditions. Along with this, fluid dynamics for air and water is also possible to simulate. Collisions, movements, etc., are also potential. It is due to the ability of simulations to accurately simulate and imitate the real-life physics of materials and the environment.
In addition to this, simulations can also imitate electronic components and processes. For example, it can accurately simulate the processing of CPUs and progressing units or even network interfaces and data exchange. Along with this, simulations can even test technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) with Machine Learning (ML) and deep learning. All these possibilities allow simulations to simulate all behavior, state, and properties of a robot along with its features and functionalities effectively.
Robotic simulation software solutions are already available, and different industries and companies are already leveraging their benefits. These simulations make innovative technologies like OLP possible to exist and thrive, creating manually teaching robots irrelevant. With offline robot programming, companies need not go back to the old approach of using teaching pendants. Such an old approach is very time-consuming while also requiring enormous resources, workforce, and investment. In contrast, OLP provides companies with elegant future-proof solutions that are effective and efficient.
OLP successfully reduces downtimes from production due to its ability to upload programming instructions in robots that they are working on without taking them out of the output. They can also enable new roads to generation and testing robot programs far from the manual testing method and age of robot codes or instructions. Simulations make it very easy to try these codes, while AI automation enables self-diagnosis and real-time optimization of production lines.
OLP is often seen as a technology that is very complex and requires high skills to utilize. There is a huge misconception that only the sides with deep pockets can afford to use OLP solutions, and there won’t be any demand for manually teaching robots anymore. But that is not the case. OLP solutions are pleasing on paper and easy to integrate and adapt even in existing production. Companies like FS Studio are working hard to bring out innovative solutions and state-of-the-art R&D technologies, including robotic OLPs, to make this transition of using OLP solutions smoother. With decades of experience and collective knowledge of various skillful people, FS Studio brings out solutions like Robotic Simulation Services for multiple companies and industries.
With the increasing pace of the industry’s move towards Industry 4.0, every industry is eagerly shifting towards digital technology while replacing old technologies like Teach Pendants with newer, more elegant, and efficient solutions like Offline Robot Programming platforms. Offline robot programming opens the road to newer possibilities and opportunities, enabling rapid prototyping, testing, training, and superior research and development, saving you from manually teaching your robots. In addition, it will help companies bring out efficient production and help them maximize their efficiency with a proven feat of achieving higher Return of Investment (ROI) in production lines and product innovation. Furthermore, this will help industries and companies innovate and remain at the top of their game to surpass and outperform their competitors.
Robots are complex pieces of machinery. Robots are engineering marvels that enable different components and systems to help with higher functions and features. These components and systems are usually very complex and require much research and development with time, resources, and specific skills. Furthermore, integrating these components is difficult, and the robot programming platform conquers it well.
With the advancement of technology, various systems, including sensors, processing power, battery power, storage systems, motors, actuator systems, and digital systems, are getting more modern and efficient. With the constant evolution of these components, they are increasingly getting complex. However, increasing complexity also increases the ease of use, efficiency, and capability of these components. Nevertheless, the integration of these components is the hardest part.
Robots with specific use cases, more movement points, locomotion capabilities, and robots that perform specific tasks with great accuracy and repetition are even more complex. For example, a moving robot or robot capable of movement, which is almost always the case, has to be aware of its surroundings, at least on a functional level, i.e., to perform its functions or to operate. Industrial robots are similar.
Usually, industrial robots are movable hands/arms that extend out to perform specific tasks or robots that carries your stuff from one place to another or operate on niche needs of the industry. So naturally, with industrial robots, complexities are even higher since they have to be accurate and run without downtimes and be efficient in the production line.
Even a little downtime or failure can lead to huge losses and difficulties inside a production facility. Hence industrial robots are usually on the verge of sophistication and perform niche tasks.
Consequently, industries usually run production smoothly and efficiently, with the lowest downtimes ahead of the competition. Moreover, enterprises are also constantly evolving and optimizing themselves and often require upgrades and updates to keep themselves at the top of their game. Furthermore, since an industry production is continuously working, maintenance and repair operations should also be efficient and fast with minimum downtime.
With all this in mind, we can say that in an industry with a production base, the side that can optimize and efficiently run their production with minimum downtime and constant upgrades and evolutions become the winners. These sides can outperform the competition, yield the most profits, and come out at the top of their respective industries.
All this is possible if the robots used for production are efficient and require less downtime for installation during the show. Even maintenance and upgrade—the traditional method of using Teach Pendants brought revolution during its inception. But times have changed, and so has the technology around robot programming. Offline Robot Programming is the new pinnacle of robot programming and coding approach that has become so mature that it throws the old method of using teach pendants out of the competition.
Witnessing how the robot programming platform conquers, industries and industry experts consider it complex to integrate and challenge to learn. However, there still lies the misconception that only extensive production facilities of industries with deep pockets can afford to use Robot Programming Platforms. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Conversely, the Robot Programming Platform has come a long way in becoming the shiny new tool that is easy to use, adopt and base the industry upon rather than using Teach Pendants.
The Power of Robot Programming Platform
Robot Programming Platforms have their origin in simulation technology. Simulation, a technology introduced as early as 1947 by Thomas T. Goldsmith Jr. and Estle Ray Mann, enables a virtual platform to imitate an object or an environment, effectively retaining all their characteristics and behaviors with almost 100% accuracy. Thus, simulations can enact the subject (object or domain under imitation through simulation) properties and behavior even in different situations, conditions, and environments. Today, simulation technology has come so far that it can accurately simulate even complex mechanical and electric phenomena along with the capabilities to simulate real-world physics very accurately.
Real world-physics, mechanical and electrical interaction between objects is critical while developing and testing robots. Simulations today can simulate all these interactions very accurately. Simulation technology or Softwares can also simulate Electromagnetic phenomena along with fluid dynamics, air dynamics, gravity, collisions, etc., effectively with a high precision being virtually indistinguishable from the real world. It shows that simulating a whole robot with all its movements, behaviors, materials, processing, and other phenomena is possible. It’s very much possible and is already available. Companies like FS Studio are already providing Robotic Simulation Services with their deep knowledge and decades of experience to back it up.
We get the Robot Programming Platforms to pair this versatile and accurate simulation technology with robotic programming. Robot Programming Platforms not only enable virtual programming of robots without even taking it out of production, since the training process happens through software updates, but it is also possible to program robots while they are still operating in the production lines. Although, one may think this might invite huge problems and irregularities if the instructions are faulty. However, robotic programming platforms also provide features for testing and verification of these instructions virtually on a PC, even before uploading the education.
The offline robotic programming platform conquers a massive leap in robotic research and development, especially in industrial and production setups. However, traditional methods of using Teach Pendants to train and program robots are very time-consuming, resource-hungry, and require an operator's presence at all times. On top of that, the robots should also be out of production to even begin their training. Then add all the cost of taking that robot out of production, setting it up for training, and waiting for the robot until it completes its training and again putting it back for production. Furthermore, add the downtime it causes to the whole production. The cost is just too much more relative to offline robotic programming.
Robot Programming Platforms enable OLP (Offline Programming), which is an “offline” approach to robot programming, i.e., away from the “online” process of Teach Pendants. OLP enables faster, more efficient, and cost-effective robot teaching or programming with robotic programming platforms capable of testing and verifying these programs virtually in a simulation environment. It enables a much wider road of possibilities and opportunities with even fewer obstacles and trenches on the way.
The industries with Robot Programming Platforms can even develop programs/codes for robots in a PC with virtual/digital twin of the robots without even being present. It allows for tremendous flexibility and overall freedom to configure, test, update and upgrade robotic programming very frequently. And all this happens without even a second of downtime; it all occurs virtually; it all happens digitally.
It again opens the road towards a higher level of automation. Robot Programming Platforms with Artificial Intelligence at their core can analyze data, more efficient solution generation, and real-time optimization of existing solutions. With the power of deep learning, even potential errors cannot hinder the production line since AI with deep understanding enables the detection of possible errors and faults beforehand. Even self-diagnosis and self-real-time optimization are all within natural reach through the use of Robot Programming Platforms.
All these advantages and benefits help a production site or industry enhance their existing robots and production lines to be more efficient, cost-effective, and capable of yielding high Return on Investment (ROI) if they adopt Robot Programming Platforms. Furthermore, with fewer downtimes, more frequent upgrades, and seamless integration of digital technology, Robot Programming Platforms conquer complex robotic problems and help surpass and outperform the competition.
For a smoother transition towards Robot Programming Platforms, industries can seek collaborations and partnerships with FS Studio companies that provide OLP and robotic simulation services solutions. Even the companies currently using Robot Programming Platforms can look for improvements towards newer state-of-the-art solutions that are proven to be more efficient, robust, and intelligent. Not only this, technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Virtual Reality (VR), and Augmented Reality (AR) will also be essential in the future, not only from a technological standpoint but also from an industrial standpoint. FS Studio excels in these types of bleeding-edge technologies. They can not only provide companies and industries with these types of innovative technologies. Still, They can also equip them with the power of these technologies to propel them ahead towards a more prosperous future of prosperity. Simulation technology grows more powerful and capable, which we can already see from the example of how robot programming platform conquers complex parts, outperforming the competition.
Companies and industries from different fields are moving towards this technology rather than old and traditional approaches. As a result, the industry’s future is looking more probable to reach the next industrial shift, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, sooner than later. With this in hindsight, we can be confident that industries that can adapt and adopt digital technologies like Robotic Programming Platforms quickly are the industries that are incredibly likely to outperform their competition and thrive in the future.