Robots are increasingly becoming a staple technology in various industries. They offer efficiency advantages over conventional processes in terms of speed, accuracy, and consistency… but not everything about robots is always efficient.
One of the biggest bottlenecks we see with many industrial robots is the need for “online” programming. You need to take the robot out of production to create new programs and update old ones.
This can be time-consuming and expensive — each moment the robot is out of production is potential money lost.
Robotic offline programming is a great solution that enables you to program your robot without it being connected to the computer. This helps reduce downtime. It also improves the flexibility and customization you can access thanks to the extra features of good offline programming software.
What is Offline Programming and How Does It Work?
Robotic offline programming is the process of creating or modifying a robot program without the physical robot being present. This involves using a special software tool that uses a digital mockup or simulation of the robot.
You have 2 basic options when looking for offline programming software:
- You can use the software offered by your robot manufacturer. This increases the likelihood that the software will be compatible with your specific robot. However, this option is quite restrictive, as it doesn’t allow you to shop around for the best software tool for your needs.
- You can find a reliable third-party software tool that supports many different robots. A software like RoboDK can help save a huge amount of time and energy by providing powerful robot programming features in an easy-to-use interface.
5 Powerful Benefits of Robotic Offline Programming
There are various benefits a robot offline programming tool can bring to your process. These can help your business by improving how you create and distribute your products or deliver your services.
5 significant benefits of robotic offline programming are:
1. Improved Efficiency
Robots themselves can help to improve the efficiency of your processes by taking dull and repetitive tasks from the hands of human workers.
Offline programming improves this even further by reducing the time your robots are out of production. By programming your robots while the physical robots are still working, you improve efficiency overall.
2. Save Time
Offline programming can also help you to save time in a variety of ways, including reducing startup times for new setups and shortening changeovers.
Even when such time savings are short, they can contribute to a significant time saving over the course of an entire year.
3. Reduced Costs
Both robots and offline programming can also help to reduce costs in your business.
From the programming perspective, you can more easily reuse programs you have already created. This helps you avoid repeating coding work as you might need to do with conventional online programming methods.
4. Better Quality
In many cases, offline programming can help to improve the accuracy of your robotic applications compared to “jogging” the robot’s position with its teach pendant.
This accuracy helps to improve the overall quality and consistency of the products you create with your robot.
5. Increased Flexibility
Possibly the most impacting benefit of offline programming is the flexibility it provides compared to conventional robot programming.
By programming the robot in a simulator, you can test out a lot more possibilities before putting the robot program into production. This means you can test more experimental and innovative solutions than you might have been able to otherwise.
Why Your Robot Programming Software Is So Important
How can you access these benefits?
With offline programming, choosing the right software is essential. The software you choose will determine how easy or difficult it is to program your robot. Your choice will also affect the quality of the programs you create, which in turn affects whether the robot makes errors.
If you choose a software that is difficult to use, you might waste many fruitless hours trying to figure it out.
Conversely, if you choose a robot that is well-suited for offline programming, your life will be a lot easier.
Your chosen software should enable you to easily create powerful robot programs without extensive robotics expertise.
How to Get Started With Offline Programming
The first step to getting started with offline programming is to pick the right programming tool. Ideally, you want a tool that is compatible with many robot brands and models and offers a range of useful extra features.
When you’ve chosen your tool, familiarize yourself with it. For more complex tools, this might require attending in-person training events. With more intuitive tools, you may be able to make great strides by following the free training (such as in our free RoboDK online training).
Start by programming your robot to complete simple tasks, such as pick and place or palletizing. When you have become familiar with the tool, move on to more complex applications that require a bit more programming skill.
Getting the Most from Your Offline Programming
When you have chosen the right offline programming software, how can you ensure you get the most from it?
A few good tips to get you started on the right track are:
- Become familiar with the tool first. A little practical experience goes a long way.
- Define your task clearly. It helps to know exactly what you are trying to achieve with your robot before you start programming.
- Debug your code before putting it into production. The offline programming environment is where you should remove most of your errors. This helps reduce the possibility of errors in the physical robot.
When you get the right offline programming tool and follow the right process, you can see some significant benefits. Your programming workflow will be smoother and you will find yourself able to achieve much more with your robot.
What could you do with the extra time savings you make through offline programming? Tell us in the comments below or join the discussion on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or in the RoboDK Forum.. Also, check out our extensive video collection and subscribe to the RoboDK YouTube Channel