The robot uses the point defined in the previous move as the start point and the point defined in the current command as the end point and interpolates a straight line in between the two points. CIRC — Circular — Motion at a defined velocity and accerlation along a circular path or a portion of a circular path. Using the start point of the robot defined as the end point in the previous motion command the robot interpolates a circular path through the mid-point and to the end point. INPUTS — An input is something digital or analog coming from another system and is read in and used to make decisions. Inputs cannot be changed by the robot is represent the state of something external to the robot such as whether a sensor is on or off. In the robots our inputs are defined from 33 through
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Whether buying a new robot or on-boarding new personnel to operate an existing robotic cell, most robot manufacturers offer a training program, and encourage their customers to use it. Industrial robots are generally programmed in proprietary languages, and concepts such as robot safety are essential for personnel working with the robot.
To investigate the value of a hands-on robotics training course, engineering. These courses include information on robot safety, selecting programs and stopping and starting the robot. The teach pendant on most industrial robots, KUKA robots included, is able to restrict access to certain functions, allowing companies to assign different permissions to different users.
Programming 1 covers everything the operator courses cover, plus the programming and commissioning basics. Level 2 is more advanced, delving into programming via PLC, and giving more information about specialized applications such as arc welding. I enrolled in Programming 1. The course spans a full hour week, mixing classroom learning and lab practice, with students programming KUKA KR3 Agilus robots set up in special education cells.
At the end of the week, students complete a written exam and those who pass receive a certificate. Students are given a page textbook, as well as two small quick-reference guides to the robot operation basics and KRL programming language.
Students also receive a digital copy of the current commissioning guide, a page PDF guide to setting up and commissioning a KUKA robot. Having these resources on hand for an employee to reference could help avoid an expensive support call or costly downtime.
On the first day of the course, the instructor asked about the particular applications each student was interested in learning. Throughout the course, he gave application-specific information to help align the course material to the needs of the students. For example, in my class, the steel ducting technicians would be working with an arc welding cell. When the instructor taught how to set the tool center point TCP , he reiterated that this step was critical in welding applications, since control of the angle of the gun is critical in welding.
This unit covers everything from the definition and components of a robot, including the manipulator, the control cabinet and the smartPAD teach pendant. This unit also covers robot safety. Students begin this unit in the classroom, learning how to interpret messages on the pendant and select operating modes. KUKA robots have four operating modes:. In general, the T1 and T2 modes are for setup tasks programming, moving the robot while AUT modes are for operating the robot.
Students then begin working with the robot in the lab setting. First, we learned how to jog the robot by moving each axis individually. Next, we learned how to navigate coordinate systems. Coordinate systems reassign the axis direction frame of reference. In this system, X direction is toward the front of the robot base, y is to the side of the robot and Z is up. BASE coordinate system is freely definable. For example, if the robot needs to move in alignment with a conveyor belt, the conveyor would be used to set the BASE coordinate system, so that the origin would be one corner of the belt.
Using BASE would allow the robot to move smoothly in parallel with the conveyor, even if it was not aligned with the robot. Calibrating the TOOL coordinate system allows the robot to move according to the orientation of the tool. If the programmer used the WORLD coordinate system to jog the robot while programming the toolpath, it would be very difficult to get the angle right—a lot like drawing a diagonal line on an Etch-a-Sketch.
Now, jogging the robot in the X direction moves the tool forward. This allows for simpler, more precise programming. Without mastering, the robot could not take advantage of its high pose and path accuracy. To master a KUKA robot, a reference value e. To achieve this, the robot is positioned in a specific pre-mastering position, according to white indicator marks on each robot axis.
When the position is accurately set, the axis position is saved as the mastering position. KUKA has a device for this called the Electronic Mastering Device EMD , which uses a small gauge pin to locate a notch in the casting of the robot, accurately located at the mastering position. Initial commissioning also includes setup for loads on the robot.
A robot can be loaded in several ways, including at the flange, as well as supplementary loads at the elbow, the upper arm and the base of the robot. These loads affect the acceleration control, torque monitoring, collision detection and other functions of the robot.
In this sample program, the robot makes two path movements, waits for a signal from input 10 such as a PLC input from a proximity sensor or similar , then makes two path movements. This action takes place on a loop. These indicate the type of motion the robot will perform. Point to Point PTP motion allows the robot to move from one set of coordinates to another. PTP motion is the fastest option, but the robot will follow an unpredictable path and the axes may change orientations. Continuous path motion programming is also possible, called CP motion.
In CP motion, the robot is guided from the start point to the end point with constant velocity, defined path and defined orientation. Linear LIN motion is a straight line. Circular CIRC is used for a defined curved path. Here is a short video clip I recorded during the course, showing the simple program I and a classmate wrote, tracing the contour line on the plate using the pen tool.
In motion programming, the robot follows a connect-the-dots path from point to point. By default, the robot will hit these points as accurately as possible, known as exact positioning. To achieve this, the robot must brake and accelerate at each point. The path can be optimized for time and wear on the robot through the use of approximate positioning. Under this type of motion command, the point coordinates are not addressed exactly.
Approximate positioning is enabled by adding the CONT label to the motion command. PTP would be used to move the robot from the home position to the beginning of the weld line. The majority of the course is spent programming the KUKA training cell to follow a contour pattern on a test plate, similar to the programming of a small parts gluing application.
After working through the above material and developing our own contour programs, the remainder of the week was spent adding complexity to the basic path following program. We briefly covered the KUKA robot collision detection and torque monitoring features. We also learned how to control the gripper using the KUKA. GripperTech technology package. While anything can be programmed the hard way, most robotics vendors sell technology packages, sometimes called apps or plugins, for convenience and time-savings.
The fundamental way to develop a simple path program into a more useful program is by adding logic. Students with basic prior programming experience will find this unit familiar. KRL logic commands are very similar to those in Python. Like logic commands, KRL variable types, arrays and arithmetic operators will all look familiar for Python users, although Python does not really require variable declaration or initialization, while KRL requires all variables to be declared using DECL statements at the top of the program.
However, Python and KRL both use local and global variables. Flowchart showing structure of a procedure which calls several subprograms. After students grasped the broader capabilities of KRL programming, we were taught how to put those programs to work together, enabling automation of more complex tasks.
This stage of the course is when students really start to understand what the robot is capable of when programmed correctly. We created separate programs for several smaller tasks, such as picking a pen tool in the gripper, placing the pen tool back in the fixture and using a hook tool.
Next, we learned how to call these subprograms within a master program for the cell. Finally, we learned how to use simulated PLC inputs and outputs in the form of bat switches and indicator LEDs to control and signal subprograms.
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Students practice working with robots in the lab. KUKA College includes hands-on time with robots in the lab, as well as class time. One of the most important calibration steps is mastering of the robot axes. This must be performed during commissioning, as well as following maintenance work. Recommended For You. Listen to this story Paused Manufacturing An Introduction to Advanced Composite Fabrication.
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Robot Programming 1: Topics Covered