ABB is a global technology leader and one of the fastest-growing robotics developers in the industry. Their ability to provide integrated automation solutions with a comprehensive suite of adaptable, AI-enabled robots attracts a diverse base of developers. As an integrator of precision automation robotics, AC frequently turns to ABB to find robotic solutions for our client’s most technically challenging applications.
In today’s Tech TalkTM, AC Manufacturing Automation Controls Engineer, Ariel Heining, describes how ABB Robotics helps us deliver precision automation solutions.
She explores how ABB robots and technologies fit the manufacturing automation niche, enabling us to quickly create precision robots that scale with our client’s requirements.
Robot Matchmaking – Niche Solutions Drive the Decision
The world of robotics is proliferating. Robot manufacturers, like ABB, work to carve out their distinctive niche within the market even as they compete with similar functionality, which blurs the differences between robots. If they all have similar features, doesn’t that make them all the same?
The choice is not just about the right robot for a specific application but choosing the best brand for an entire plant. Having too many robot brands can put a strain on a plant’s technical and maintenance resources. Picking the right industrial or collaborative robot for precise automation can be complicated.
How do we choose which brand to go with when the stakes are high and the differences aren’t immediately noticeable? We start with our client’s performance requirements and automation goals, then look to the robot supplier’s performance niche to find the right match.
ABB Robotics for Precision Automation Solutions
ABB robots are well-known for their precision and accuracy. For tasks that require a high degree of repeatability and fine motion, such as welding, ABB has the advantage.
An optional ABB calibration feature, Absolute Accuracy, shrinks the gap between a robot’s real and calculated position, delivering greater accuracy than average robots. Their calibration tool makes it easy for us to swap out a robot and install a new one in the same position with minimal or even no positional re-touching. Absolute Accuracy minimizes downtime while improving recovery time and efficiency.
The difference between a virtual robot and a real robot can be typically 8-15 mm, resulting from mechanical tolerances and deflection in the robot structure. The introduction of the ABB Absolute Accuracy concept bridges this gap with a complete accuracy concept for the entire robot lifetime, ensuring a maintainable accuracy of approx 0.5 mm in the entire working range.Source: ABB ELibrary | Absolute Accuracy
User-Friendly & Robust Programming in RAPID
When it comes to programming, ABB’s RAPID is more human-readable than most other robot languages, making it simpler to create self-documenting code. Returning to old code or working with code written by others can be daunting, but ABB makes it as painless as possible.
Because RAPID is tailored for automation robotics, it’s easy to find and reuse frequently used functions and commands for motion control, I/O, error handling, and more. Additionally, we can customize RAPID code for different types of robots, complex assembly tasks, and precision automation applications.
With ABB’s intuitive Wizard Easy Programming graphical interface, RAPID coding is now as simple as picking and arranging standardized command blocks.
Pulling the future of robotics back into what’s happening now, RAPID makes it possible to program a robot to handle its own controls. Teach pendants can even be turned into an HMI that is accessed and handled by the robot. There are so many robust options for the developer ready to dive in and code the next generation of automation robots.
Advanced Robot Emulation with RobotStudio®
With ABB we have access to their powerful robot emulator, or digital twin. Through RobotStudio®, we can design ABB robots and evaluate their performance offline using a virtual controller.
A robot emulation tool is a much more efficient path to robot programming. Engineers can use the virtual controller to teach and quickly re-teach all the tasks we need to perform, while enabling a more robust and efficient development process.
Design validation, cycle time optimization, safety validation, and even training are all possible through a digital replica. These capabilities help reduce downtime, which boosts productivity.
Although robot motion emulators are common to most major robot manufacturers, ABB’s RobotStudio® is one of the most well-developed and detailed environments. It has the feel of high-end 3D CAD software and makes complex analysis effortless.
Extensive Customization Options
When selecting and customizing a robot with ABB, they make it easy. Their Robotics WebShop gives us access to an extensive suite of robots and a la carte options for most applications. And there are lots of integrated technology add-ons for everything from safety-rated software to communication protocols to multitasking.
Broad Support Resources for Precision Automation Engineering
Access to support documentation
ABB has individual manuals for all its robotic arm models, controllers, the RAPID programming language, and many options, such as SaveMove and Integrated Vision.
Their documentation is filled with examples and visual aids and is well-edited to keep it clear and precise. All of this is easily accessible by searching their online library.
Online robot selector & wiki tutorial videos
With highly developed digital resources, ABB’s Robotics WebShop makes the robot selection and customization path easy to navigate.
Through their Robot Wiki, engineers and clients quickly find topics to better understand robotic concepts and ABB technologies.
AC Integration Support for ABB Robotics
How can we integrate ABB for you?
AC is an authorized ABB Value Provider, providing integration services for robotics and automation support technologies.
> How can we support your ABB robot solution?
> What robot integration challenges do you face?
> Are you ready to take your robot automation project to the next level with the support of AC integration experts?
Stop by Andrews Cooper’s booth #3431 at ATX West 2024 from February 6-8th to experience our partnership with ABB Robotics!
Enjoy our ongoing live AC/ABB partner demonstration with an automated and personalized takeaway!
How can we help? Speak with an AC integration engineer today.