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PROGRAMMING METHODS USED IN ROBOTIC ENGINEERING

 

Programming in robots can be done by entering the programming commands into its controller memory. There are various methods of doing that and it all depends on the expected functions required from the robot. Though, several methods or ways exist in the programming of robots, these four methods appears to be common:

Manual Programming Method

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This is a method used in entering the program commands into the controller memory of simple, low-technology robots which are used for short work cycles or limited sequence operations like pick-and place sequences. The manual method is not really programming in the real sense of the word. It is more like setting-up a machine operation in a sequential manner rather than programming.

This method relates to the procedure involving the setting of mechanical stops, cams, limit switches or relays to control the end points in the extreme positions of travel. A sequencing device in the control unit wires the sequences together and determines the sequence or order in which the motions occur to complete the work cycle.

Walk through Programming Method

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Walk through robot programming is a direct contact teaching method in which the programmer manually moves the robot’s manipulator arm and hand through the motion sequence of the work cycle. Each movement is recorded in the robot’s memory for subsequent playback during production.

The speed with which the movements are performed can be controlled independently so that the programmer does not have to worry about the cycle-time during the walk through. The major concern of the programmer is getting the position sequence correct. The walk through method would be appropriate for spray painting or arc welding jobs. It may also be called direct teaching programming method or manual teaching programming method.

Lead through programming method

Lead through robot programming is a non-contact teaching method where the programmer uses a control box or a teach pendant to power-drive the robot’s manipulator through its motion sequence.

The teach pendant is a small hand held device with switches and dials which are used to control the robot’s movement. Each motion is recorded in the robot’s memory for future playback during the work cycle. The lead through method is easier and more convenient than walk through method. It may also be called indirect teaching or powered programming method.

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Offline programming method

The robot’s offline computer programming method is simply the prepration of the robot’s program offline, on a separate computer terminal before entering into the robot’s memory. In this method, the robot’s work process data and motion command are entered in the form of coded, alpha-numeric sequence from an input device e.g. a keyboard or by conversation with the voice sensitive CRT screen. After the ;program has been prepared offline, it is then stored into the memory of the robot for future work cycle. Offline method has an advantage of not losing production time due to the delay in teaching the robot a new task since the programming is carried out on a separate computer while the robot meant to use the program is still in production operations on the preceding job. The method offers higher utilization of the robot and the equipment with which it operates while time is maximized.

Another advantage found in the offline method is the prospect of integrating the robot into the factories CAD/CAM data base and information systems. In this system, the robot’s work data is prepared from the CAD data. The idea is that since the CAD data already had every geometrical description of the component, the program will be free from any other geometry statement and only cross-referencing statements would be used.

 

The four methods highlighted above seem to be popular in the programing of robots especially in the modern robotic engineering even though that the future of the sector is talking about machine learning and other artificial intelligence related technologies.

 

Originally posted 2018-09-26 05:49:50.

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