Whether affairs a new apprentice or on-boarding new cadre to accomplish an absolute automatic cell, best apprentice manufacturers activity a training program, and animate their barter to use it. Automated robots are about programmed in proprietary languages, and concepts such as apprentice assurance are capital for cadre alive with the robot.
However, barter who haven’t accomplished one of these training courses may admiration if these courses are worthwhile. We’ve all had to appear a binding training academy that amounted to little added than a arid slideshow and a photocopied certificate.
To investigate the amount of a hands-on robotics training course, engineering.com accomplished out to KUKA College. KUKA has 25 training centers worldwide, with KUKA Academy USA amid in Shelby Township, Michigan. I abounding KUKA Academy Canada, which is amid a Toronto, Ontario.
KUKA College’s advance offerings accommodate apprentice operation training, which prepares cadre who will be alive with the robot, but not autograph the programs it will execute. These courses accommodate advice on apprentice safety, selecting programs and endlessly and starting the robot. The advise chaplet on best automated robots, KUKA robots included, is able to bind admission to assertive functions, acceptance companies to accredit altered permissions to altered users.
For cadre who will be autograph those programs, KUKA Academy offers Apprentice Programming 1 and 2. Programming 1 covers aggregate the abettor courses cover, additional the programming and allotment basics. Level 2 is added advanced, delving into programming via PLC, and giving added advice about specialized applications such as arc welding.
KUKA can additionally advise courses according to a company’s specific needs, but these courses are accessible by appeal only.
I enrolled in Programming 1. The advance spans a abounding 40-hour week, bond classroom acquirements and lab practice, with acceptance programming KUKA KR3 Agilus robots set up in appropriate apprenticeship cells. The advance covers the KRC4 controller, but courses in the earlier KRC2 programming are additionally available. At the time of this writing, the KRC4 Apprentice Programming 1 advance costs $2,575 CAD.
Shown here: 250-page Apprentice Programming 1 textbook, two quick-reference guides
At the end of the week, acceptance complete a accounting assay and those who canyon accept a certificate. This acceptance is a audible benefaction to the resumé of any automation specialist or apprentice programmer acute KUKA experience.
Students are accustomed a 250-page textbook, as able-bodied as two baby quick-reference guides to the apprentice operation basics and KRL programming language. Acceptance additionally accept a agenda archetype of the accepted allotment guide, a 43-page PDF adviser to ambience up and allotment a KUKA robot.
This actual is acutely valuable, aback best apprentice manufacturers—including KUKA—protect their copyrighted training actual absolutely agilely and don’t acquiesce it to be broadcast illegally online. Accepting these assets on duke for an agent to advertence could advice abstain an big-ticket abutment alarm or cher downtime.
Students convenance alive with robots in the lab.
The training courses are abounding by:
My chic included:
KUKA Academy includes hands-on time with robots in the lab, as able-bodied as chic time.
On the aboriginal day of the course, the adviser asked about the authentic applications anniversary apprentice was absorbed in learning. Throughout the course, he gave application-specific advice to advice adjust the advance actual to the needs of the students. For example, in my class, the animate ducting technicians would be alive with an arc adjustment cell. Aback the adviser accomplished how to set the apparatus centermost point (TCP), he common that this footfall was analytical in adjustment applications, aback ascendancy of the bend of the gun is analytical in welding.
More advice on the agreeable of Apprentice Programming 1 is accessible on the KUKA academy website.
The antithesis of this analysis will focus on what I abstruse in the course.
KUKA Ready2_educate training cell.
This assemblage covers aggregate from the analogue and apparatus of a robot, including the manipulator, the ascendancy chiffonier and the smartPAD advise pendant. This assemblage additionally covers apprentice safety.
Students activate this assemblage in the classroom, acquirements how to adapt letters on the chaplet and baddest operating modes. KUKA robots accept four operating modes:
In general, the T1 and T2 modes are for bureaucracy tasks (programming, affective the robot) while AUT modes are for operating the robot.
Students again activate alive with the apprentice in the lab setting. First, we abstruse how to jog the apprentice by affective anniversary arbor individually. Next, we abstruse how to cross alike systems.
Coordinate systems reassign the arbor administration anatomy of reference. Out of the box, the absence alike arrangement is acquired from the abject of the robot, alleged ROBROOT. In this system, X administration is against the advanced of the apprentice base, y is to the ancillary of the apprentice and Z is up. The WORLD alike arrangement is identical to ROBROOT, but can be reassigned. For example, WORLD alike arrangement can be accumbent with the assembly line. The apprentice can additionally use the added systems: BASE, FLANGE and TOOL.
BASE alike arrangement is advisedly definable. Typically, it is acclimated to ascertain the robot’s workspace. For example, if the apprentice needs to move in alignment with a agent belt, the agent would be acclimated to set the BASE alike system, so that the agent would be one bend of the belt. Appliance BASE would acquiesce the apprentice to move calmly in alongside with the conveyor, alike if it was not accumbent with the robot.
The TOOL and BASE alike systems are the best important. Calibrating the TOOL alike arrangement allows the apprentice to move according to the acclimatization of the tool. For example, if the robot’s apparatus was an arc adjustment gun, the apparatus acclimatization and bend is actual important in the aisle programming. If the programmer acclimated the WORLD alike arrangement to jog the apprentice while programming the toolpath, it would be actual difficult to get the bend right—a lot like cartoon a askew band on an Etch-a-Sketch. Appliance the TOOL alike arrangement sets the alike agent at the apparatus centermost point (TCP). Now, jogging the apprentice in the X administration moves the apparatus forward. This allows for simpler, added absolute programming.
Briefly, arrive is the activity by which the apprentice ambassador “knows” the position of its axes. After mastering, the apprentice could not booty advantage of its aerial affectation and aisle accuracy.
To adept a KUKA robot, a advertence amount (e.g. 0°) is assigned to every axis. To accomplish this, the apprentice is positioned in a specific pre-mastering position, according to white indicator marks on anniversary apprentice axis. Aback the position is accurately set, the arbor position is adored as the arrive position. KUKA has a accessory for this alleged the Electronic Arrive Accessory (EMD), which uses a baby barometer pin to locate a cleft in the casting of the robot, accurately amid at the arrive position. The EMD is the best authentic and fast way to adept a KUKA robot(within 5-10 minutes).
Initial allotment additionally includes bureaucracy for endless on the robot. A apprentice can be loaded in several ways, including at the flange, as able-bodied as added endless at the elbow, the high arm and the abject of the robot. These endless affect the dispatch control, torque monitoring, blow apprehension and added functions of the robot.
This assemblage introduces KRL, the KUKA Apprentice Language. KRL is a proprietary accent that all KUKA non-collaborative robots use.
KRL is actual agnate in syntax to Python. An archetype affairs looks like this:
PTP P1 Vel=100% PDAT1 Tool Abject 
PTP P2 Vel=100% PDAT2 Tool Abject 
WAIT FOR IN 10 ‘Part in Position’
PTP P3 Vel=100% PDAT3 Tool Abject 
LIN P4 Vel=100% CPDAT4 Tool Abject 
In this sample program, the apprentice makes two aisle movements, waits for a arresting from ascribe 10 (such as a PLC ascribe from a adjacency sensor or similar), again makes two aisle movements. This activity takes abode on a loop.
The affairs aloft shows that aisle movements accommodate PTP and LIN. These announce the blazon of motion the apprentice will perform.
Point to Point (PTP) motion allows the apprentice to move from one set of coordinates to another. PTP motion is the fastest option, but the apprentice will chase an capricious aisle and the axes may change orientations.
Continuous aisle motion programming is additionally possible, alleged CP motion. In CP motion, the apprentice is guided from the alpha point to the end point with connected velocity, authentic aisle and authentic orientation. This blazon of motion includes Linear (LIN) and Circular (CIRC). Linear (LIN) motion is a beeline line. Circular(CIRC) is acclimated for a authentic arced path.
Here is a abbreviate video blow I recorded during the course, assuming the simple affairs I and a acquaintance wrote, archetype the curve band on the bowl appliance the pen tool.
In motion programming, the apprentice follows a connect-the-dots aisle from point to point. By default, the apprentice will hit these credibility as accurately as possible, accepted as exact positioning. To accomplish this, the apprentice charge anchor and advance at anniversary point.
The aisle can be optimized for time and abrasion on the apprentice through the use of almost positioning. Beneath this blazon of motion command, the point coordinates are not addressed exactly. Almost accession is enabled by abacus the CONT characterization to the motion command.
An archetype of how PTP and CP motions would be acclimated is in an arc adjustment application. PTP would be acclimated to move the apprentice from the home position to the alpha of the bond line. LIN or CIRC would be acclimated to chase the weld, as CP motions move the TCP at a authentic velocity, aisle and orientation.
The majority of the advance is spent programming the KUKA training corpuscle to chase a curve arrangement on a analysis plate, agnate to the programming of a baby genitalia gluing application.
After alive through the aloft actual and developing our own curve programs, the of the anniversary was spent abacus complication to the basal aisle afterward program. We briefly covered the KUKA apprentice blow apprehension and torque ecology features. We additionally abstruse how to ascendancy the gripper appliance the KUKA.GripperTech technology package. While annihilation can be programmed the adamantine way, best robotics vendors advertise technology packages, sometimes alleged apps or plugins, for accessibility and time-savings.
The advance additionally covered troubleshooting absent or base programs in the controller’s Windows operating system, archiving and abating programs and tracking modifications and accompaniment changes appliance the log file. These abilities are acceptable amid the best admired things abstruse in the course, because actuality able to restore a robot’s affairs could save hours of blow and a account call.
The axiological way to advance a simple aisle affairs into a added advantageous affairs is by abacus logic. Acceptance with basal above-mentioned programming acquaintance will acquisition this assemblage familiar. KRL argumentation commands are actual agnate to those in Python. Conditional commands are IF/THEN/ELSE, and loops accommodate the basal LOOP, as able-bodied as counting bend FOR, and abnegation bend WHILE, all identical to Python commands. WAIT FOR and WAIT SEC command the apprentice to delay for an accident or for a set time period. KRL can additionally SWITCH amid assorted cases, which is advantageous for a multiple-choice blazon scenario. For example, a apprentice assuming a allocation assignment may use SWITCH/CASE to abode altered altar in altered locations. SWITCH/CASE statements chase this example:
Like argumentation commands, KRL capricious types, arrays and accession operators will all attending accustomed for Python users, although Python does not absolutely crave capricious acknowledgment or initialization, while KRL requires all variables to be declared appliance DECL statements at the top of the program. However, Python and KRL both use bounded and all-around variables.
Flowchart assuming anatomy of a action which calls several subprograms.
After acceptance grasped the broader capabilities of KRL programming, we were accomplished how to put those programs to assignment together, enabling automation of added circuitous tasks. This date of the advance is aback acceptance absolutely alpha to accept what the apprentice is able of aback programmed correctly.
We created abstracted programs for several abate tasks, such as acrimonious a pen apparatus in the gripper, agreement the pen apparatus aback in the accoutrement and appliance a angle tool. Next, we abstruse how to alarm these subprograms aural a adept affairs for the cell. Finally, we abstruse how to use apish PLC inputs and outputs (in the anatomy of bat switches and indicator LEDs) to ascendancy and arresting subprograms.
By the end of the course, acceptance accept congenital several reliable programs that accomplish altered tasks aural the cell, and can start, stop and about-face the robot’s affairs during operation via an alien controller.
Like KUKA College, abounding of the added above automated apprentice vendors, including FANUC Training, Yaskawa Motoman Academy and ABB University, activity training academy programs. While the tuition, time and biking costs are not bush for some companies, the amount of accepting acquiescent cadre centralized for alike the best basal robotics implementations far outstrips the cost. In addition, upskilling workers opens the aperture to amount accumulation on approaching automation projects.
For added advice on starting a robotics deployment project, analysis out How to Pick, Pitch and Purchase Your Aboriginal Automated Robot.
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