ABB Offers VR Integration for Robot Programming


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 RobotWorx experts online or at 877-762-6881.

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