November 12th, 2018
Collaborative robots (CoBots) are already making significant inroads in the US and global manufacturing industry with Universal Robots (UR) staking a majority market share. With more and more first-timers looking at ways to automate using CoBots, it becomes important to make the process easier for them.
Having pioneered the easy-to-use robot programming interface, Universal Robots has launched a new tool to achieve further simplicity in application design: the Application Builder. The Application builder from Universal Robots allows anyone to click a few buttons and create a basic structure of an application. This structure can then be downloaded and serve as your starting blocks. The Application Builder also allows you to see a video simulation of the application.
There are other paid software that allows you to do this but if you are just starting to look into how you can adopt collaborative robots, then it is definitely worth looking into the Application Builder as its free. Another reason to select UR!
Introduction to Application Builder
The three main types of applications available currently are machine tending, screw-driving, and packaging. If you would like to see new application types, UR allows you to select and specify other applications for future rollouts.
Application Builder Walkthrough: Machine Tending
For the purpose of this blog, I will choose the machine tending application. Based on your selection, you will be guided through a sequence of steps starting with:
- Which robot you will use.
- The end of arm tool type and setup.
- Infeed interface, which describes how your parts are being presented to the robot.
- How your robot will interact with other machines such as conveyors, sensors etc.
- Outfeed interface, which specifies how the parts will be discharged by the robot.
UR also understands that you may not always know the exact type of tool, infeed setup, etc. that you may end up with your application. For those uncertainties, there is an option called, “Help me Choose” at each stage which will recommend the best option from UR’s experience, having implemented 25,000 + cobots worldwide.
Each option will also have an information tab which you can click to read characteristics, pros, and cons of each choice.
Once you have made all your selections, you will arrive at the final page where you can see a simulation of the application and will be emailed a copy of the startup package. The startup package includes the following files:
Along with the actual program in text and URP format, UR also sends you a PDF of the program (UR_AppBuilder_MT_SPP_Prog) with helpful tips and explanations of the various sections of the program. A separate PDF is included for the interface setup, whether it is digital I/O, Modbus, Profinet, Ethernet etc. The installation file will have the details on the robot and workspace settings. The script file can be used with offline programming software. The URP file can be copied onto the robot teach pendant to see how the program plays in the real world and it can be modified as required.
These files are also very useful for someone who doesn’t have the robot but would still like to do programming using the PC based URSim software (free download on Universal Robot website). You can also contact us at Cross Company to get help with customizing the application to fit your needs, to purchase a Universal Robot, and get your investment up and running.
As you can see, Universal Robots has once again raised the standard in making robotic automation accessible to everyone, whether you are experienced in automation or not. We encourage you to take advantage of tools like this and our introduction to the Universal Robots Academy to find out for yourself how simple using cobots from Universal Robots really is.
If you have any questions about UR’s Application Builder or how Universal Robots could potentially be implemented at your facility, please contact us and we will be happy to answer the questions that you may have.