The teach pendant
All functions are available from the teach pendant. Commands are selected from a list and are very easy to understand. The user does not have to worry about machine codes or syntax. The only function on the actual robot control cabinet is a rotary on/off switch. The layout is straight forward and the user can make selections on the colour touch screen and the key pad.
The user can select in which way the robot moves to this position, either in a polar coordinate system moving each robot axis individually or in a linear coordinate (or Cartesian) system whereby the robot moves in X,Y and Z describing a straight path at the Tool Centre Point. The latter is an obvious requirement when programming a straight joint for welding. When programming the robot, "teach" is selected and this drops the robot speed to safe levels of 250 mm/sec. In order to move the robot a three position dead man's handle located on the teach pendant, needs to be held in the middle position to release the brakes and supply power to the motors. The jogging and run speed of the robot can be altered to suit when a toggle key is pressed . The key switch is rotated to T1 to T2 to test the program at 100% speed with the dead man’s handle still activated or in Automatic or Automatic Extended when running the robot in normal production mode. When the robot is run in automatic mode, the teach pendant can be parked in a safe place on the robot control cabinet and in case of the KUKA SmartPad teach pendant it may be removed from the system completely.
The programmer will generally have a number of choices to achieve certain programming objectives. Large programs can be split up into sub-programs and this will make it easier to recognise them and make modifications afterwards. Similar parts of a robot program, e.g. welding round a series of bosses can be copied or repeated with a shift function. Circles can be programmed with only 3 points, but it is also possible to specify a radius from the centre position. Entire programs can be shifted to another workstation using a base coordinate system.