Robot Welding

The essential guide

Off-line robot programming
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Off-line programming and simulation software runs on a PC and may also run the actual robot control software in the back ground so performance from the software closely matches reality. Depending on the software this can also be simulated.

Advantages and disadvantages of various software suppliers

The advantage of  robot supplier software is that it represents a lower cost compared to third party software, but it is restricted to one brand of robot and may not have the same enhanced functionality. There are some independent suppliers of off-line programming software, such as IGRIP, Delfoi and RobCad, that in general have high level of acceptance in the market for high profile off-line programming and simulation. This kind of software can use the kinetic model of the particular robot based on the control software code that can be purchased from the robot supplier or it can simulate the machine code. When programming off-line the user can build a virtual cell from a library of 3D robot models and tools. It is also possible to import externally created 3D models in a variety of file formats such as stepp and igis.

Absolute accuracy and repeatabilty

These are two different concepts that can be confusing. A robot can have a very good repeatability but a poor absolute accuracy. For offline programming it is important that the real robot matches the theoretical model as closely as possible to reduce the amount of touching up after off-line programming. Some suppliers can offer high accuracy versions of their robot, which have specially selected gearboxes and castings that fall within higher tolerances. With KUKA robots it is also possible to specify a high accuracy calibrated robot. Prior to delivery a test is conducted using a laser vision system that measures specific points in the robot test programme. The position of  these points are referenced against the theoretical positions and stored in a data file which is uploaded to the robot controller. When this type of robot is in production, the absolute accuracy and repeatability of  the robot closely matches the theoretical robot.

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