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Free tool allows non-programmers to set up robots

01 February, 2021

ABB has launched an free programming tool for its IRB 1100 industrial robots that allows first-time users to implement robotic automation without needing specialist programming skills or knowledge of the Rapid programming code.

The new Wizard Easy Programming software follows last year’s launch of a version for ABB’s YuMi single-arm collaborative robot.

Based on simple graphical blocks, the new software makes it easy for non-specialists to automate their applications. The blocks represent actions such as “move to location”, “pick up an object” and “repeat movements”, making it easy to define a series of processes for the robot to perform. The tool includes error-handling functions to avoid problems such as collisions.

ABB says that, using the software, a robot can be up and running within minutes. The required blocks are dragged-and-dropped on the screen of a FlexPendant programming device, with the user able to see the results immediately. The linked blocks can form complete programs for applications such as machine tending or assembly, without needing any knowledge of robot programming languages.

The free software will be preloaded on the FlexPendant programming tool for every new IRB 1100. It will be offered for other ABB industrial robots in the future.

The free software tool makes it easy to program industrial robots via a handheld device

“There is a growing demand from industry for robots that can be programmed easily for a wide range of tasks,” explains Antti Matinlauri, ABB Robotics’ head of product management. “People have become accustomed to the easy user interfaces in smartphones and other consumer technology. Our Wizard Easy Programming tool uses this concept to take the effort out of programming industrial robots and brings us a step closer to enabling anyone and everyone to use robotics.”

For users needing more specialised functions, new blocks can be created to perform specific tasks using ABB’s Skill Creator software which turns standard Rapid programming routines into Wizard blocks. The custom blocks, known as skills, can, for example, be used to control specialised grippers or vision applications.

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