Offline programming (OLP) software has come a long way over the years. What was once viewed as a technology that was too expensive and complex for most manufacturers is now more advanced, more affordable, and much easier to use. OLP software provides a meaningful return on investment for many types of automation projects, by saving time, improving productivity, and helping manufacturers to identify opportunities for cost savings.
In this article, we’ll give you a brief introduction to robot programming and how you can use Visual Components to streamline OLP. We’ll discuss some of the key features that make this possible, and show you an example of how they work.
Robot Programming Overview
Robot programming is the process of programming a robot to perform a set of tasks. For industrial robots, programming can be done “online”, meaning in a production environment, or “offline”, meaning outside a production environment. Two of the key methods for robot programming are robot teaching and offline programming.
In the teaching method, a teach pendant is used to manually move a robot end-effector to different positions and orientations at each stage of the robot task. Relevant robot configurations are recorded by the robot controller, and a robot program is written to command the robot to move through the recorded postures. (1)
The OLP method uses 3D data to create a virtual model of the robot and work cell. Using simulation, it allows the user to virtually teach the robot. Because OLP is a computer-based approach that uses digital models and advanced simulation, it’s much faster and more accurate compared to online programming for many applications. Some software products used for OLP, like Visual Components, have features that also make the OLP process very simple.