By Shay Shomroni and Alex Greenberg, from Siemens PLM Software
More manufacturers are acquiring robots to improve production and to modernize methods. It’s not uncommon to encounter challenges when trying to operate robots on the shop floor. Real efficiency improvements are hard to achieve, and in many cases, robots aren’t used to their fullest capabilities, or rarely used at all.
Why isn’t my robot living up to its potential?
Whether used for welding, polishing or assembly, there are several reasons companies are challenged to utilize robots in production:
Complexity of parts – Manually teaching the robot to follow curved trajectories imposes a significant challenge, even for the most experienced programmer.
Need for highly skilled programmer – Learning how to program a robot is not a trivial job. In many cases, a manufacturer doesn’t have or can’t allocate the required resources to do the task at the right time.
Running small batches – Manufacturing in small quantities requires frequent changes and adaptations to the robot programs, leading to frequent halting of the production line for teaching the robots manually.
Complexity of automation – Integrating the robot with the controller (PLC) and other equipment isn’t easy or straight-forward. Therefore, a lot of interaction between robotics and electrical personnel on the shop floor may be required.
What are my automation needs?
Ramp up issues and changes are an integral part of your manufacturing process and work routine. They are the source of many of your everyday logistical and flexibility challenges. Yet, if you want to keep up with the times and leverage robots in your business, you might want to step back and see how you can capitalize more on your investment.
First, identify the challenges and issues in your current process:
Do your programmers spend too much time on the shop floor before production?
Do you stop your robots frequently to solve quality issues?
Do you have many issues of robot synchronization with other equipment?
Have you ever damaged a robot, a tool or a part, due to an unpredicted collision?
Do you wonder whether operating your robot is cost-effective, due to the constant changes required?
Do you struggle to predict and optimize your production cycle time?
Are you lacking a method to improve the skills and productivity of your experts?
After your core issues are revealed, you have established a solid baseline for moving forward. In addition, make sure you have a good understanding of your business needs, and define your expectations for savings and returns.
Now you can start thinking about solutions based on a better understanding of your setbacks and goals. Your improvement approach may combine various techniques including training, best practice documentation, and consultation with industry experts. In addition, you should investigate the usage of dedicated software, that’s targeted to solve the key issues that you’ve identified. Dedicated software can be a big boost to your improvement plans.
How does Robotics simulation software help?
Robotics simulation software has tremendous success in transforming industry. If you use the same tools and processes proven to be effective in industry for years, you’ll be able to transform your automated manufacturing, as required for the specific needs of your branch. By choosing to use simulation, manufacturers and system integrators gain amazing upgrade success. With Robotics simulation software, you save engineering time and decrease commissioning time by as much as 50 percent. You can also improve the overall robot program’s quality and minimize shop-floor waste.
Robotics simulation software is a proven solution that can help you cope with your challenges. Robotics simulation helps you to program, optimize and fine-tune your robot offline in a 3D environment. You can standardize your programming workflows across the organization using process libraries. When you use CAD parts geometry to plan the robot paths, you ensure the highest accuracy in material processing. You upgrade your manufacturing, make it easier to utilize your robots and have a modern, proven solution that will take your business forward.