The application of simulation software creates the possibility to digitally recreate tools, fixtures and robots. It then creates a program complete with motions, logic, commands and tools. The program can be processed and then input to any machine in an almost identical manner to the procedure of programming any computer numerical control (CNC) with a computer aided manufacturing (CAM) software.
There are cases where simulation is preferred to manual programming. This is clearly seen whereby a typical program has included so many points. Manually teaching all these points their roles is tiresome and time intensive and simulation is the solution.
Robotic simulation software is better on current industrial robots for sale than on existing robots because technology advanceswith time. However selection of robotic simulation software is dependent on: cost, compatibility with robots in use, robot programming extent required to use software, suitability of the software to the process among others.
Considerations for selecting the ideal robotic simulation software
Due to the software’s high capability for customization and modification the prices is relative to these modifications. This means the client should ask that the vendor of the software give them a price quotation.
The cost of the simulation software should not exceed the market price. This is because it will make the company not be at an even ground with its competitors.
Robot controllers from one brand work differently to those of another brand. This means there is no proof that a robot working under the tutelage of a simulation software will move like the way a real robot does.
In simulation software a vendor will create programs in proprietary language so that they can only support what they sell. Though some vendors have flexible platforms whereby incompatible machines can be added to the software’s library in order to work on request by the client.
End arm tooling fragments such as dispensers, grippers and wielding guns can be also hectic to simulate accordingly. For simulation to work correctly, you require the tools parameters as well as the offset of the transmission control protocol from the flange of the robot.
A computer aided design model is a possibility but not a requirement in this case. If the integration of the tool into the robotic arm is done correctly, input output calls in simulation can be done in accordance to the input output requirements of the tool manufacturer.
Existing software environments
To avoid compatibility complications, users of simulation programs more often than not prefer to stick with the same vendor of simulation software and be sure. Robots should run on robotic operating system (ROS) to enable usage of an open source simulation tool like `gazebo’ to develop a code for it.
When manually programming a robot, typically you calibrate to a specific frame as well as calibration to the precise location of its joints. Visually, the programmer can validate that the programmed point is calibrated to the wanted physical location.
This is in contrast to simulation whereby fragments of the work cell including parts, fixtures and welding positioners as well as others. They must be well located in relativity to one another so as to create a digital twin of the cell. Once the program has been downloaded, the robot’s reference frame can be calibrated to achieve alignment of the corresponding real locations with the programmed points.
Brand specific simulation tools
A very small percentage of manufacturers refuse to offer flexible simulation software making clients to be forced to source for third party simulation software. That said most brand offerings do not accommodate other makes and models of robots
Users of used robots, may find it a hassle to secure simulation software for their old controller versions due to the market only offering support for the newer controller versions.
To sum it all up, sourcing for simulation software can be a hassle. This ideally means before sourcing for a simulation software consider the factors reviewed above.