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3D software is ‘first’ to simulate robotic cells accurately

27 April, 2020

Omron claims to have developed the first 3D simulation software that can reproduce accurately the movements of all of the robots and peripheral devices that make up an automation cell and verify their operation with the same accuracy as the actual machine. The Sysmac Studio 3D simulation software allows mechanical designers responsible for drawing up equipment specifications, and  electrical engineers responsible for control programming, to work concurrently at an early stage of a machine design project. This, says Omron, will help to avoid errors when the machine is started up, leading to faster start-ups and improved productivity.

The need to respond flexibly to the diversification of products and fluctuations in demand, means that manufacturing sites need to be able to respond rapidly, develop equipment faster, and achieve simultaneous start-ups of production lines that can deliver precision assembly at multiple sites. But there is a shortage of the skilled engineers needed to achieve these goals, and efforts are therefore being made to verify the design of facilities using advanced simulations.

Conventional dedicated simulator software is expensive and requires expertise. In addition, this simulation software differs from the control software, making it difficult to match the simulation results to the actual machine operation. It is also difficult to achieve precise simulations for robots and their peripheral equipment because they use dedicated controllers.

Omron says its new software simplifies the simulation of manufacturing facilities by adding optional licenses for simulation functions to the Sysmac Studio software used to program its flagship NJ/NX Series automation controllers. It is thus the first in the industry to be able to control and verify robots and peripheral equipment in a single operation, the company adds.

Omron says its 3D simulation software can verify machine operation with the same accuracy as the actual machine.

The emulator-based simulation can be performed accurately and in real-time. It can visualise equipment digitally and enables movements to be verified before a machine is actually started up. This reduces the time needed to confirm the production capacity of the equipment, as well as commissioning and modification times. After the facility has been commissioned, the operating status of the equipment can be checked and monitored digitally, saving time when clarifying the cause of any problems.

Omron says that by enabling robots and peripheral devices to be controlled and simulated using a single controller, it will, in future, accelerate the evolution of integrated controls and intelligent machinery, and improve manufacturing productivity “dramatically”. The simulation software will also make it easier to commission later projects by re-using digital assets from earlier projects.

The simulation software will initially be available for systems that do not include robots, although support for Omron robots is expected to be added “shortly”.

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