Robotic cells are complete systems that house your robot, controller, and other essentials like positioners. Your robot cell also ensures the safety of your employees and protects your investment. Efficiency, precision, and reliability are of paramount importance. So, before you start integrating, consider the following five tips for programming your FANUC integrated work cell to ensure that it provides you with the maximum potential benefits.
Take the time to think carefully about the programming structure
Your programming structure will follow you throughout the programming process of the various applications of the cell. Taking the time to set it up correctly before you start programming could save you a lot of time and trouble in the future. Setting up a pseudo-code structure can help you to think about the logical flow of events and can give you a framework when you start writing the actual code. A flowchart or process diagram can also be very useful for visualizing the routine your robot will execute. Save yourself some time and troubleshooting later by sketching out your programming structure in advance and making sure all workers are familiar with the routine.
Set the robot’s working tools correctly using “Tool Frames”
FANUC’s “Tool Frames” allow programmers to plot the robot’s movement in a Cartesian coordinate system. The reference point, also called the Tool Center Point (TCP), is set by one of several methods, and all other positions are referenced relative to the TCP. The operator defines the TCP using one of four common methods : the three-point method, six-point method, direct entry, or two-point + Z method. With three-point and six-point methods, the TCP is defined by setting the robot tool to different reference positions. The direct entry method, just as it sounds, allows the programmer to enter the TCP coordinates manually. The 2-point + Z method uses two reference points to determine x and y coordinates but lets the user define the height of the tool. Be sure to enter the weight and inertia characteristics of the robot hand because this data plays a role in correctly determining the robot path and can speed up the cycle time when input correctly.
Do not try to “patch” a programming problem
When a problem arises in programming, a patch may provide a workaround and often appeals to users as a convenient and low-maintenance fix. However, patches may not address the underlying causes of errors that can persist and manifest themselves in other areas. Before applying a patch, check to see if you can identify the source of the error. Double-check all relevant settings, values, and the programming structure itself. A little work on the front end can save lots of time and energy later when you may have to hunt down and fix numerous instances of an error that has propagated throughout lengthy segments of code.
You can eliminate many programming problems before you even get your robot set up. Programmers can get very creative with their coding. However, if they are spending a lot of time finding innovative solutions to make a robot do something it wasn’t designed for, the problem isn’t a programming one. In this case, it may be a problem with the type of robot you’re using. Take the time to think carefully about the processes you want to robotize before making a purchasing decision. Work with your team, plan, and choose the best robot for your automation needs. If you need assistance, DIY-Robotics offers free consultations to help you decide on the right robot or cell. This way, you can avoid complications that reduce productivity and throughput by taking a robot out of the automation flow.
Free Programming Libraries and Forums
No matter what you need to program, it’s always a good idea to look for existing libraries and free resources. These reservoirs of pre-existing, tested code can make your job a lot easier. The programming community is a helpful one. If someone has come across a problem and found a useful solution, chances are, it has been posted somewhere. Check the top forums, like the FANUC forums on Robot-Forum.com and DIY-Robotic.com. Search on GitHub or in training resources. And don’t overlook programming solutions in different languages or for other products. The physics and engineering principles that govern robots are the same, so the answer to your problem may be universal.
At DIY Robotics, it is important to provide you with all the resources you need to execute your project effectively. We hope, among other things, that these three tips will be useful. Find all the details related to the complete process of a DIY Robotics project, using Fanuc robots, by consulting our Build Your Cell guide.