ABB has created a wizard to program its single-arm YuMi robots. The Easy Programming Wizard is a graphical method designed to enalbe users to quickly create robot application programs. The idea is to deploy a robot without the need to hire employees with specilized training. “Easy Programming makes robots easier to install, program, and operate without specialized training,” Andie Zhang, ABB’s global product manager for Collaborative Robotics, told Design News. “This reduces barriers for first-time robot-users to implement automation.”
The ABB wizard consists of programming blocks that control ABB’s single-arm YuMi robot. (Image source: ABB)
The wizard utilizes an open-source visual coding method “The Easy Programming software is built on the concept of Blockly, which presents programming language or code as interlocking blocks,” said Zhang. “By using this simplified approach our Wizard allows users to program and use the single-arm YuMi robot without prior knowledge of any robot programming language.” He notes that a user can drag and drop these functions on the FlexPendant to adjust the robot’s actions quickly.
The goal is to enable small businesses to experience the benefits of robots without the assistance of a pricy programmer. “We want to help first-time robot users realize the possibilities of automation,” said Zhang. “We’ve reduced the learning curve for new users by simplifying the programming. The idea is to reduce the cost, time, and skills required to implement collaborative automation. This helps companies that lack a dedicated engineering or automation programming resource”
ABB uses a screen with blocks to make robot programming simple and quick. (Image source: ABB)
The ultimate goal for collaborative robot producers is to create automation in the form of a robot that can be put to work by the employees whose work is replaced by the automation. Small manufacturers don’t want to deploy automation to replace labor only to have to hire higher skilled – and more expensive – new workers.
The Wizard became available as a pre-installed application on the FlexPendant device for all new single-arm YuMi robots after its release at the end of March. “The Wizard easy programming software is available for free, and the new software will also be made available to existing YuMi customers in the form of a free add-in that can be installed via RobotStudio to the FlexPendant,” said Zhang.
ABB plans to expand the Wizard Easy Programming to its other robots in the future.
Rob Spiegel has covered automation and control for 19 years, 17 of them for Design News. Other topics he has covered include supply chain technology, alternative energy, and cyber security. For 10 years, he was owner and publisher of the food magazine Chile Pepper.