Siemens PLM Software
Simulating turbine blade polishing in a virtual setting helps to calculate cycle times with accuracy and to detect collisions to improve efficiency and safety

Improving Robots’ Efficiency for Small/Mid-Sized Manufacturers

Aug. 23, 2012
Accurately depicts robotic machining, polishing, welding, and more Tasks include workcell layout design and motion simulation, including collision detection Offline programming, shop-floor program uploads

A new simulation program from Siemens PLM Software depicts robotic devices’ interactions with production and other machinery in a machine shop (or fabricating shop) setting — minimizing downtime for the automation devices and increasing throughput for shop-floor robots. The RobotExpert is described as “intuitive” and “easy to deploy” for small and medium size manufacturers, for functions like machining, deburring, polishing, welding, pick-and-place, and numerous more.

Production cost, safety, and availability factors are promoting wideruse of industrial robots for complex, repetitive tasks — which is the reason that Siemens PLM identified a need for an “out-of-the-box” robotic simulation and programming software.

RobotExpert — now available — allows design, simulation, optimization and offline programming of robotic applications to maximize the speed, flexibility and operation of automated systems. It presents an intuitive 3D environment, and combines the simplicity to optimize robotic paths and improve cycle times with the power to simulate virtual mockups of complete manufacturing cells and systems. It can be used to generate the most suitable combination of equipment to meet specific manufacturing needs, supporting faster product introduction as well as early evaluation of manufacturing times, costs and project investments.

Typical functions for robotics simulation may include workcell layout design and modeling, or motion simulation for robots and mechanisms, including collision detections. The program performs 3D modeling of kinematics tools, assistors and robots; calculates cycle times using realistic robot simulation (RRS); and provides Gantt charts of its simulation for users’ comparative analysis. 

RobotExpert supports robot devices from various suppliers, is available for offline-robot programming and program uploads from the shop floor.

Industrial robots are traditionally programmed manually, which means production downtime and non-optimized robot programs. RobotExpert provides an offline programming and simulation tool that helps to minimize downtime by allowing the majority of the programming work to be done virtually, while optimizing the program to reduce the cycle time and increase throughput.

Also, simulation capabilities help to anticipate, and thus avoid, workers’ and equipment’s exposure to workplace hazards.

“Manufacturers, big and small, are under a great deal of pressure to maximize return on capital investment, and production line automation provides an excellent opportunity to help increase efficiency,” stated Siemens PLM Software’s Zvi Feuer, senior vice president, Manufacturing Engineering Software.

“Specifically, small and mid-size manufacturers needed an intuitive and easy-to-deploy solution that removes the complexities involved with implementing a robotic simulation and programming solution,” Feuer continued. “That is why we have developed RobotExpert as an independent software solution, which builds on Siemens PLM Software’s proven leadership in digital manufacturing. We have taken more than two decades of experience delivering robotic solutions for some of the most complex applications and created a simple intuitive solution which will help small and medium size manufacturing companies across industries build better products by making smarter manufacturing decisions.”

About the Author

Robert Brooks | Content Director

Robert Brooks has been a business-to-business reporter, writer, editor, and columnist for more than 20 years, specializing in the primary metal and basic manufacturing industries. His work has covered a wide range of topics, including process technology, resource development, material selection, product design, workforce development, and industrial market strategies, among others. Currently, he specializes in subjects related to metal component and product design, development, and manufacturing — including castings, forgings, machined parts, and fabrications.

Brooks is a graduate of Kenyon College (B.A. English, Political Science) and Emory University (M.A. English.)