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Platform automates robot deployment, slashing set-up times

13 January, 2023

OnRobot, the Danish specialist in add-on technologies for cobots (collaborative robots), has launched a new flagship platform which it describes as “the industry’s first automated platform for building, running, monitoring, and re-deploying collaborative applications”. Called D:Ploy, it automates the process of getting robot applications up and running, allowing complete applications to be deployed and redeployed on factory floors in a few simple steps, with no programming – all within a few hours.

The system - which was previewed at the IMTS show in the US last year – is designed to address the shortage of skilled robotics engineers and integrators and could help smaller manufacturers to break through existing barriers to automate their operations.

The platform works with many leading robot brands – including ABB, Denso, Doosan, Epson, Fanuc, Kawasaki, Kuka, Omron, TM, Universal Robots and Yaskawa – and can be applied to a wide range of applications. OnRobot says it will help speed up robotic adoption within the largely untapped SME (small and mid-sized enterprise) market.

At launch, the new platform supports palletising, CNC machine-tending, packaging, and pick-and-place operations. Other applications will be added later.

“The D:Ploy platform and its ability to truly democratise automation has been OnRobot’s goal from the beginning, and we have been laying the groundwork for years,” explains the company’s CEO, Enrico Krog Iversen. “We offer the industry’s broadest range of tools and application solutions for every leading robot brand – all based on our ‘One System, Zero Complexity’ philosophy. Now that the building blocks are in place, we can finally launch the first version of D:Ploy, which will be a market enabler across the industry.”

The new platform automates many of the manual steps needed to build and run applications. It discovers most of the installed hardware automatically, and generates robot movements based on obstacles and cell boundaries. Program logic, signals, event handling, and robot movements are all created automatically for the entire application, based on a few inputs such as workpiece attributes and pick positions.

OnRobot's new D:Ploy platform automatically discovers most of the installed hardware in a cell and generates the required robot motion based on obstacles and cell boundaries in the workspace.
Photo: Business Wire

OnRobot claims that the system will cut the time needed for initial deployment of palletising applications from 40 hours to four – a 90% time saving. Just as critically, when production requirements change, the system has the flexibility to be de-deployed quickly to suit new products or workpieces. Real-time monitoring improves productivity and minimises downtime.

Simon Potzkai, a robotics sales engineer at the German systems integrator Alexander Bürkle, who has been a beta tester for the new system, reports that it “simplifies the task of building and integrating a robotic cell with an innovative approach that doesn’t require any type of programming. With the current shortage of engineers, that’s a huge advantage for integrators.

“By making it easier and faster for us to deploy automation,” he adds, “we can serve more customers and help them more quickly realise the advantages of automation. That’s a win-win for everyone.”

Alan Vallis, training and development manager at the UK OnRobot distributor, LG Motion, predicts that D:Ploy “will make automation accessible for companies who may be a bit reluctant, whether it is related to cost or in-house skills and competences. I think D:Ploy will demystify a lot of that.”

OnRobot:  Twitter  LinkedIn  Facebook

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