ABB Offers VR Integration for Robot Programming

Aug 5, 2017

ABB is leading the way in the automation industry by adding Virtual Reality to its programming. VR for robot programming with ABB is done with RobotStudio, enabling an easier transition and training for robot engineers onto an ABB system. The Virtual Reality program has the users interact with 3D models by plugging in to virtual reality goggles and then viewing the 3D models form every direction.


Vir­tu­al Real­i­ty is quick­ly advanc­ing in this tech­nol­o­gy dri­ven world and is now mak­ing its way into automa­tion with ABB lead­ing the way. ABB is the first com­pa­ny to offer VR for robot pro­gram­ming through its Robot­Stu­dio. This sys­tem makes the job of a robot engi­neer much eas­i­er. It allows users to inter­act with the 3D mod­els on Robot­Stu­dio by plug­ging in to vir­tu­al real­i­ty gog­gles and view­ing the 3D mod­els from every direc­tion, much bet­ter than on a 2D com­put­er screen. 

This entire pro­gram is incred­i­bly real­is­tic thanks to the enhanced algo­rithms cre­at­ed by ABB’s spe­cial­ists. The pro­gram­mers are put in the best pos­si­ble posi­tion for over­all per­for­mance and safe­ty with Vir­tu­al Real­i­ty. They use hand­held con­trollers to inter­act with the mod­els and to vir­tu­al­ly walk around the robots, move the robot arms, cycle equip­ment, add markups, exam­ine the robots from all angles, includ­ing the bot­tom, and make adjust­ments where necessary. 

Users can then vir­tu­al­ly watch the robot in per­son” as it plays back the work cycle and look for any angles that may be unsafe or phys­i­cal­ly impos­si­ble. Addi­tion­al­ly, the VR is mir­rored on a com­put­er screen, so mul­ti­ple experts can col­lab­o­rate on the best solu­tions after view­ing the robot. Long dis­tance col­lab­o­ra­tion is also pos­si­ble via a Skype con­nec­tion to tour the work­cell and exam­ine the sys­tem from afar. Also, if there are larg­er work­cell mod­els you want to exam­ine, you can sim­ply tele­port to those oth­er loca­tions. If trou­bleshoot­ing is nec­es­sary, then this also helps to get things up and run­ning faster and eas­i­er with the in-depth analy­sis provided. 

For instance, in a mate­r­i­al han­dling appli­ca­tion, if a robot drops a box, the box will drop and bounce just like in the real world. For con­vey­or belts or oth­er things where the motion of prod­ucts need to be sim­u­lat­ed, this is great as you can pre­cise­ly watch how the robot moves in coor­di­na­tion with the motion of the cables and hoses, etc. The abil­i­ty to pro­vide cable sim­u­la­tion is very help­ful to ensure that the cables do not inter­fere with the process and cre­ate unnec­es­sary haz­ards. In weld­ing or seal­ing, experts can exam­ine a work sequence up close inside the mod­el and then make adjust­ments to bet­ter the robot­’s out­put. For paint­ing appli­ca­tions, users can vir­tu­al­ly paint and cre­ate the robot­’s path from hand con­trol motion. This sim­u­la­tion and abil­i­ty to watch it all tru­ly helps to bet­ter under­stand how to improve the over­all pro­duc­tion process.

The new Robot­Stu­dio VR sys­tem goes inside the com­put­er using the HTC Vive Vir­tu­al Real­i­ty Sys­tem. This sys­tem has two base sta­tion” sen­sors that cre­ate a grid to con­tain the 3D envi­ron­ment enabling the 360 degree motion track­ing. Fur­ther­more, this pro­gram has supe­ri­or sight-track­ing capa­bil­i­ties to help elim­i­nate the motion sick­ness that some peo­ple feel when using VR systems.

The ben­e­fits of vir­tu­al­ly plac­ing your­self inside the 3D mod­els is a huge time and stress saver in order to ensure, first-hand, the robots will be per­form­ing to their best abil­i­ty. As many ben­e­fits as VR brings, it also enables pro­gram­mers to actu­al­ly enjoy the time tweak­ing, mod­i­fy­ing, and adjust­ing the robots in a fun environment. 

The VR tech­nol­o­gy’s pres­ence in automa­tion has been antic­i­pat­ed for a long time, and its arrival is very excit­ing for robot engi­neers. It has already suc­cess­ful­ly increased pro­duc­tiv­i­ty, safe­ty, effi­cien­cy, and great­ly improved the over­all pro­cess­ing. ABB’s Robot­Stu­dio has tru­ly cap­i­tal­ized on the ben­e­fits of VR integration…and this is just the begin­ning! The inte­gra­tion of VR into automa­tion is very excit­ing and to know that there is more to come is even bet­ter for the ease of use for own­ers, engi­neers, and pro­gram­mers. For more infor­ma­tion about ABB’s Vir­tu­al Real­i­ty using Robot­Stu­dio, con­tact Robots​.com experts online or at 8777626881.

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