Robot programming

Design, simulate and optimize robotic tasks in a virtual environment based on 3D CAD data for faster robot investment payback, higher production efficiency and Design for Manufacturability (DFM).

Faster robot investment payback

Easily program your robots of any brand pre-production 10 times faster and let them hit the shop floor running without stopping production. Save and re-use your programs for future projects.

Improves production efficiency

Ensure products are made to the highest standards of quality consistently by optimizing robot movements and processes for peak efficiency and precision with minimal robot downtime.

Supports DFM

Eliminate last-minute modifications to fixtures and tooling. Thoroughly test and adjust virtual models of the robot cell and production setup well in advance of actual production.

Why use robot offline programming (OLP)?

Imagine programming a robot to weld a circular part on a metal workpiece. The robot needs to move the welding torch in a 3D arc around the circumference of the part, and at the same time maintain a precise orientation with respect to the surface.

You can do this by teaching points with a pendant, but you’ll need a lot of points and it will take a long time. The gap between the torch will almost certainly vary, as will the orientation of the torch. What’s more, the robot cell won’t be available for production until you’ve finished programming. This downtime can last from days to weeks, resulting in lost production.

With OLP, producing robot programs is faster, easier and more accurate.

Maximizing efficiency of robot programming and robots

OLP allows robot tasks to be designed, simulated and optimized in a virtual environment, independently of the actual robot cell. Once the robot program is generated and verified in the software, it can be downloaded to the physical robot for execution.

This is critical for pre-planning complex robot operations, ensuring efficiency and mitigating risk. Manufacturers using OLP software have reported an 80% reduction in robot programming time and a 95% increase in robot utilization.

Robot programming with Visual Components

Robot programming should not be complex, repetitive or time-consuming. Robot programming software should enhance production flexibility and adaptability and enable repeatable quality with accuracy.

Visual Components offers the fastest and easiest OLP software. Compatible with any industrial robot brand, process or complexity, helping you maximize quality, robot utilization rate and production output.

From robot cell design to deployment

Streamline your robotic station planning and commissioning with fast, easy and accurate robot offline programming.

Create a virtual robot cell

Import CAD models of the equipment, work pieces, enclosure, tools, and other resources and fixtures that will be in the robot cell into Visual Components OLP software or choose from our eCatalog. Accuracy of the models and process related information used is critical to generating a reliable simulation of the process and error-free offline program for the robots.

Generate collision-free programs

Extract robot positions from 3D CAD data with a specific tool center point (TCP) – the point in relation to which all robot positioning is defined. Generate paths from features of the CAD models, such as corners, edges, or other geometry features. Easily troubleshoot for reachability and collision issues in Visual Components OLP software.

Optimize process

Process optimization incorporates trajectory planning, process planning, and tooling design. It’s an iterative design loop with a number of factors and tradeoffs that need to be considered, so simulation helps significantly with this process.

Post process

After the robot program has been verified in the simulation environment, it needs to be implemented to the real robot. Easily convert robot programs into the language of the target robot with our 17 post-processors from globally recognized robotics brands. Save and reuse your programs any time.

Calibrate virtual model and real robot cell

Calibrate errors between the work cell and virtual model and update the virtual model to match with guided instructions and detailed reporting. The goal is to ensure the robot program is running at 100% accuracy with no unplanned operator intervention for a faster production ramp up. 

What are the common OLP applications?

  • Access and orientation are particular challenges that OLP helps with, and complex weld beads can require large numbers of points.

  • Applications like bead blasting and deburring often need long, complicated paths that require a lot of points.

  • As with welding, orientation is important, and so too are unified paint thickness and standoff distance, plus ensuring all areas can be reached and painted optimally.

  • Grasping and insertion-type moves need precise control over gripper orientation, which is achieved at a higher level with OLP.

  • Plasma or laser cutting or waterjet cutting may work for standard parts but for complex geometries, robots are needed with accurate cutting patterns that can be generated with OLP.

  • Many assembly operations require the deposition of long, complex adhesive beads: OLP helps to create the tool paths rapidly offline with consistent quality.

    For robot programmers

    Save time on manual robot programming and rework so you can focus on more important priorities.

    For manufacturing engineers

    Easily collaborate and validate design and fixture feasibility before production.

    For production managers

    Save 10x programming time without stopping production. Maximize quality, robot utilization rate and production output.

    For robotics managers

    Maximize quality, robot utilization rate and productivity to shorten robot investment payback period.

    For system integrators

    Easily create a digital twin to optimize proposals for accuracy before delivery. Stay competitive by delivering quality and achieving customer satisfaction.


    Robot offline programming (OLP) is a method of generating robot programs in computer software (virtual environment) based on 3D CAD data. Once the robot program is generated and verified in the software, it can be downloaded to the physical robot.

    The effectiveness of OLP depends on how accurately the CAD model represents the work cell. To capture the real layout of the cell, not just what’s represented in CAD, users must perform a process known as robot cell calibration. This involves:

    1. Measuring a set of reference points within the cell.
    2. Recording the actual position of the robot’s Tool Center Point (TCP) and the locations of periphery equipment in OLP.
    3. Running specific calibration programs to align the model with the actual cell, perfecting the digital twin.

    Measurements can be taken with the robot itself or with external devices such as 3D laser scanners.

    This stems from the assumption that high production volumes are needed to benefit from OLP. The reality is a slightly different story. OLP is especially beneficial when the production runs are short, setups or changeovers are frequent, and there’s a lot of variety in the tasks. Small and mid-sized manufacturers can greatly benefit from OLP if they are running small-batch production.

    Like any software, OLP requires some training and has a learning curve. Plus, there are probably some OLP products that are not particularly user-friendly. The best products though are intuitive, logical, and easy to use, letting novice users quickly become proficient. Furthermore, don’t underestimate the complexity of programming by robot teach pendant. Different robot brands have different commands and then additionally the systems can change from older to newer robot models. This makes it even more complicated to use manual programming.

    An OLP software is an additional purchase. However, it only needs buying once and can support whatever brands of robot a facility uses. (This also helps a facility avoid being locked into a single robot vendor.) OLP users report improved ROI from their robot cells, as downtime is reduced, and robot utilization increased. There’s evidence it can cut robot downtime due to programming by as much as 90% and can pay for itself on a single project.

    Users of OLP software report multiple benefits:

    No robot downtime
    Programming time can be reduced up to 80% and robot utilization increased by as much as 95%, boosting programmer productivity and cutting cell downtime.

    Quick set-up time
    Less time is needed to launch a new product into production – programming happens concurrently rather than sequentially.

    Enhanced workplace safety
    Reduced risk of accidents and injuries.

    Higher and repeatable quality
    Robot programs are better optimized, (shorter cycle times, higher accuracy and consistency,) resulting in higher and repeatable production quality.

    Robot brand and process agnostic
    Regardless of robot brands or types of processes, advanced OLP software can cover all applications.

    Avoid rework and delays
    Last-minute fixture and tooling modifications are avoided.

    OLP software speeds up program creation, reducing the time required for programming, but it does not eliminate the need for skilled programmers. Path planning and optimization, collision avoidance, and so on are all best done by an experienced programmer. However, OLP software can make them more productive, giving them time to work on more complex programming tasks and innovate in a safer work environment.

    Yes, OLP can reduce on-site robot programming by generating accurate robot programs to minimize touch-ups. For example, programs generated in Visual Components OLP software are error-free. In most cases, touching up on-site is not necessary at all, provided some form of seam search functionality is used.

    OLP can help detect common robot problems taking place during program execution. For example, using the collision detection and path check tools in Visual Components OLP software, you can easily troubleshoot and fix reachability, joint limits, singularity and collision issues efficiently from your workstation.

    When considering OLP software, evaluate whether the software covers all robot brands, processes, and complexities for your current and future needs. After evaluating the technical capabilities, it is also important to consider whether you will receive the technical support you need to ensure implementation and commissioning success. Finally, request a demo to see and try it for yourself.

    How are our customers using Visual Components for robot programming?

    Bunorm Maschinenbau: mastering complex welding quality and efficiency

    Learn how Visual Components OLP helped program and optimize complex parts before production, leading to faster programming and improved quality.

    Ponsse: driving forest machine innovation and improving productivity

    Learn how Visual Components OLP helped enhance automation utilization, maximize productivity and streamline robot cell design.

    Berlin Gardens: unlocking full potential of robotic welding in aluminum production

    Learn how Visual Components OLP helped program robots for complex tasks with consistent speed and quality.

    Master robot programming in Visual Components

    Introduction to Robotics OLP

    An overview of different robotic processes in Visual Components Robotics OLP, from welding, processing, to spraying.

    Introduction to robot teaching

    Learn how to use an articulated robot, including exchanging robots, testing programs, adding a suction gripper, and configuring signals for part manipulation.

    Basics of robotics

    An overview of robotics in Visual Components and includes topics such as point-to-point motion, linear motion, robot base frames, robot tool frames, robot configurations and robot turns.

    Interested in our robot programming solution?