Listen to this article
ABB said yesterday that it has launched its Wizard Easy Programming software for its IRB 1100 industrial robot. The tool is intended to enable first-time users to add automation to their production lines without the need for specialist programming skills or any knowledge of RAPID code.
Zurich-based ABB is a global technology company with more than 130 years of experience. It said it connects software to its electrification, robotics, automation, and motion portfolio to drive performance to new levels. The company has about 110,000 talented employees in more than 100 countries. ABB Robotics & Discrete Automation serves industries, including automotive, electronics, other manufacturing, and logistics. The unit has shipped over 400,000 robots and employs more than 10,000 people in more than 53 countries.
Wizard Easy Programming widens access for IRB 1100
Based on simple graphical blocks, Wizard Easy Programming is intended to make it easy for non-specialists to automate their applications, said ABB. The blocks represent actions such as “move to location,” “pick up an object,” and “repeat movements” so that users can build a series of simple processes for the robot to perform. There are also functions for error handling, allowing novice programmers to resolve errors such as collisions.
With Wizard Easy programming, a robot can be up and running in minutes, claimed ABB. The programming process is reduced to simply dragging and dropping the required block on the ABB FlexPendant, with the user able to see the results immediately and adjust the robot’s actions if required. By linking these blocks together, complete programs can be built for applications such as machine tending or assembly, with no need for any knowledge of robot programming languages, according to the company.
ABB’s Wizard Easy Programming software, which is already available for the single-arm YuMi collaborative robot arm, is available for free and can be installed as an add-on. It will also be preloaded on the FlexPendant of every new IRB 1100. Wizard will become available on other selected industrial robots in the future, ABB said.
Blocks can create specific tasks
For companies with more specialized programming needs, new blocks can also be created to perform specific tasks. This is achieved through ABB’s Skill Creator software which ABB or its partners can use to turn standard RAPID programming routines into Wizard blocks, ready for use by non-programmers. The custom blocks, known as skills, can be produced to control specialized grippers or vision applications, said the company.
“There is a growing demand from industry for robots that can be programmed easily for a wide range of tasks, which is why ABB is expanding the capability of Wizard Easy Programming to support small industrial robots starting with the IRB 1100,” said Antti Matinlauri, head of product management at ABB Robotics. “People have become accustomed to the easy user interfaces in smartphones and other consumer technology. Our Wizard Easy Programming tool uses this concept to take the effort out of programming industrial robots and brings us a step closer to enabling anyone and everyone to use robotics.”