Offline programming and visualization is one of the best ways to maximize return on investment for robot systems, reducing risk and errors while eliminating downtime by programming outside of the production environment. Widely used by companies throughout multiple industries, ABB's RobotStudio® simulation and offline programming software presents a wealth of possibilities for programming, designing and testing robots in a virtual environment without disturbing real-time production.

However, this isn’t the only benefit that RobotStudio has to offer. Here are 10 things that you might not know that ABB RobotStudio can do, which can help to boost performance and enhance production.


1. Cable simulation

Designing robot cables and dress packs can be a challenge. The cables connected to the robots can undergo extensive wear and tear, resulting in a higher risk of collisions.

RobotStudio offers cable simulation, enabling you to visualize the movements of the robot and the cables before implementation. This enables you to reduce collision risks and increase cable life span.


2. Swept Volume

Finding out the space that the robot requires during the operation can be tricky. This can make it difficult to predict how multiple robots might work with each other in a tight space, and where to set up the fences and other boundaries where humans and robots intend to work together.

RobotStudio can automatically and with precision create a swept volume of the robot and tooling during the motion of the robot program. This can help to provide precise recommendations for where to place fences and safety zones, enabling automation process managers to prevent clashes, interferences, and potential accidents during actual production.


3. Signal Analyzer

When retrieving, visualizing, and reviewing motion signals and I/O signals from the robot controller, these signals must come in the correct order. They must also have the correct time stamp to guarantee precision when tuning and optimizing the robot program, with the data received from real and virtual controllers.

This data is required from both the real and virtual robot controller to establish why a robot cannot reach the programmed speed, or how quality is being affected by slight adaptations or speed drops. Additionally, analyzing energy performance and efficiency during the cycle, and how variables can affect consumption, is becoming increasingly important for the user.

RobotStudio’s signal analyzer allows users to record and display all signals from a robot controller (real or virtual) in one view. The dashboard allows users to optimize and adjust parameters with ease. Robot speed, power consumption levels, I/O signals, TCP positions, joint values and more can all be recorded.

By using the “go to” program or visualization, issues in the program can be identified with just one click.


4. CAD to Path

Using a handheld device and joystick on the shop floor when moving the robot to the correct position to create the robot program is extremely complicated and time consuming. Usually, this will stop ongoing production, and create less than optimal targets.

By using a CAD-model of the part, it is possible to automatically generate the positions on the edge of a shape. In seconds, this will create perfectly oriented targets along the edge, which would have been otherwise cumbersome to achieve online by jogging and teaching the targets with a robot.

The Auto-Configuration feature also helps you to automatically define the robot arm configuration for the complete path with just one click.


5. Jobs

Keeping an entire fleet of robots updated and running consistently is challenging. Traditionally each robot would require operators to update and validate the installation manually. This is extremely time consuming.

In the commissioning phase there can be multiple updates and constant changes happening at the same time. This makes it almost impossible to get an overview of which robots are installed and ready to go.

RobotStudio’s Jobs feature permits simultaneous operation on a large population of robot controllers in a factory, simply by connecting them to the factory’s network.

There are several actions that can be carried out, including carrying out backups, synchronizing the time on each robot, reading of RAPID data, updating user rights, retrieving system data, and sending them to external programs like Excel for further analysis, and much more.


6. Collision free path planning

In a tight and crowded robot cell that contains a lot of equipment, it can be a highly complex and time-consuming task to create every robot movement, while also considering the obstacles on the path.

RobotStudio’s automatic collision free path planning feature, negates the need to program all the steps to the final desired position. Only the final position needs to be given, and the robot will swiftly follow a path that avoids all obstacles in the path automatically.

This feature enables a collision free path between start to finish within seconds, speeding up engineering phase and time-to-market.


7. RAPID editing and debugging

Creating robot programs on a teach pendant is not ideal, and typically requires downtime. This can be carried out on a PC or third-party simulation tool which emulates the robot code, but this doesn’t always provide sufficient context, nor does it allow testing and debugging of the program.

With RobotStudio’s text editor, programs loaded into a robot can be viewed and edited either live or virtually. It features syntax and error highlighting, tooltips, automatic insertion of arguments, and context-sensitive help for robot instructions. There is also a data editor that allows tabular editing of the program data. The program can be debugged by setting breakpoints, while numerous of other variables can also be monitored.


8. Station Viewer

In the discovery and planning stage it is important for the supplier to be able to explain and communicate the proposed solution so that both the customer and the supplier are aligned, ensuring effective cooperation and collaboration. This is traditionally done by exchanging reams of documents, which are typically not easy to interpret and understand, leading to project delays and conflicts in the team.

Station viewer is a 3D interactive movie package for showing and sharing a RobotStudio simulation to others that do not have the software installed. The package displays realistic graphics with accurate tooling, movements, and throughput, providing a better understanding of proposals and adjustments. There is also a way to view projects in Virtual Reality, simply by plugging the headset into a computer.


9. Path Editor

Updating programs online is usually carried out through the teach pendant. Editing multiple instructions or the complete process path, can lead to many errors and a cumbersome process. It can also be difficult to get an accurate grasp of the necessary direction to move the positions to get the correct update of the targets. Furthermore, it can be difficult to go back and correct errors without losing previous edits.

RAPID Path Editor enables views in 3D and ways to edit programs loaded into the robot controller, allowing users to edit individual or multiple targets at the same time, while the program gets updated automatically. All changes can be undone before being loaded into the robot.


10. Virtual Controller

Spending too much time on the production floor to get a system running and updated is time consuming and costly when there are easier options available. Offline programming systems have traditionally been used, but simulations are by their nature imperfect, and do not always reflect reality.

RobotStudio’s virtual robot controller is an exact copy of the real software that runs robots on the production floor. This therefore provides more realistic simulations, using real robot programs and configuration files identical to those used on the shop floor, including safety zones. The virtual controller allows users to be fully confident that what they see in the program is what they will be getting on the shop floor.