How Wandelbots Teaching Works

How Wandelbots Teaching Works

Feb 18, 2022

How Wandelbots Teaching Works

There is often more than one way to program a robot, depending on the brand of the robot. In most cases, you would have to spend hours carefully writing a series of commands or lines of code which the robot must understand to run. Even if you would like to perform the same or a similar task using a different robot brand, you are usually required to re-write the codes all over again using a different programming language as each robot brand speaks its own unique language. This seems exhausting – it really is. To avoid this and many other setbacks that come with deploying industrial robots such as lack of experts and small batch sizes, robot users are now making the switch from robot programming to Wandelbots Teaching. With Wandelbots Teaching, everyone can teach a robot without writing a single line of code; but how does this really work? 

In this article, you will learn the detailed steps used in teaching a robot a new skill and how the various components of Wandelbots Teaching come together to make robot programming easier than ever before. If you are more of a video person, you can watch this demo video to see how Wandelbots Teaching works. 
 

Components of Wandelbots Teaching 

The Wandelbots Teaching solution contains all the components you need to run the program without any third-party add-on. In this section, we’ll explain the main components of Wandelbots Teaching and what each component is used for. Detailed instructions on all other components can be found in the user manual which is accessible via the Wandelbots App.

The main components include: 

1. The TracePen: This is the ‘teaching device’ for Wandelbots Teaching. It is a tool that is used for recording the points and whole path in the working space. The TracePen has two buttons that can be customized to suit your preferences. For instance, if you are teaching a robot-welding application, it is possible to insert welding I/Os via buttons on the TracePen.

How Wandelbots Teaching Works

2. TracePen Tips: There are different detachable TracePen tips designed to teach different applications. The TracePen tips have a preconfigured Tool Center Point (TCP), which is stored in the app. One of the TracePen tips is referred to as the ‘Flextip because it can be mechanically modified into a custom tip that fits the desired application and the TCP can be adjusted via the App. You can also replace the flex tip with a different 3D printed tip

How Wandelbots Teaching Works

3. Wandelbots Teaching App: This is the robot programming software component of Wandelbots Teaching. It serves as the user interface which runs on an iPad and guides you through the teaching process. Here, you can edit the recorded path by moving and/or splitting points, inserting I/Os and creating the process according to all your wishes. The App also serves as a support & education library. 

How Wandelbots Teaching Works

4. Tracking Cubes: These are laser-based tracking systems which are required for tracking the TracePen in the 3D space. For accurate results, you can use at least two and up to a maximum of four tracking cubes. 

How Wandelbots Teaching Works

5. The TracePen Robot Adapter: The TracePen robot adapter is required to match the position of the TracePen with the position of the robot flange. The adapter should stay on the robot if possible.

How Wandelbots Teaching Works

6. Wandelbots IPC: The Wandelbots IPC (industrial PC) is the system component that is connected directly to the robot controller. The IPC has four Ethernet ports and a WLAN adapter. The WLAN adapter provides an Access Point through which the Tablet and the app gain wireless access to the IPC.  

How Wandelbots Teaching Works
Robot Teaching Steps 

Teaching a robot a new skill has never been easier. In this section, you will learn about the three simple steps involved in teaching both cobots and industrial robots after setting up and commissioning the Wandelbots Teaching solution. 

Step One: Demonstrate the path 

This involves demonstrating the activity the robot is supposed to learn with a teaching device (the TracePen). The TracePen is an input device, just like the mouse on your computer. The purpose of the TracePen is to make path creation for your robot skills as easy and human as possible. This handheld device provides a similar experience to what you would get with manual tools such as a welding torch or a spraying gun. 

Before you begin this step, you must bring the robot to its home position via the Wandelbots app and create a new skill on the app. Then, calibrate the TracePen by inserting it into the TracePen Robot Adpater and selecting ‘calibrate’ via the app. The process is automatic and usually takes less than a minute after which you are ready to start demonstrating the desired path to the robot.  

How Wandelbots Teaching Works

To record a path, remove the TracePen from the TracePen Robot Adapter and attach the preferred TracePen tip for the application to be taught. If it is a welding application for instance, one of the welding tips should be used depending on the required welding angle. Simply use the [Record] button on the TracePen to start demonstrating the path. By default, a short press adds a single point while a long press activates the recording. However, this setting can be customized based on your preference. This kind of configuration can be done while setting up the TracePen and it can be edited at any time using the App.  

Configuring the TracePen buttons

Configuring the TracePen buttons

Demonstrating (App view)

Recording a path (App view)

Step two: Design the process  

This step is entirely carried out via the Wandelbots Teaching App. Our goal is to provide operators with the most intuitive user interface that is possible for creating robot skills. 

After a path is defined using the TracePen, the recorded movements are visualized within our intuitive Wandelbots App. Here, the user can edit and process the path, as well as adjust the points, control settings and I/Os (e.g., to define movements and functions of end-effectors and other tools). All this is done without writing a single line of code. Points along the taught path, are used to refine a path operation. You can increase or reduce the number of points according to the level of precision with which you would like to adjust the taught path. You can adjust several points simultaneously by simply selecting the points and moving them in the desired direction. It is possible to edit the points online (with the robot active and positioned in that point) or offline, with just the preview in the app (robot not active/deactivated). Adjusting the points optimizes the robot movement and refines the path taught using the TracePen in the first step.  

While editing a skill, it is also possible to insert I/O signals depending on the application you would like the robot to perform. Simply save the skill once the design process is completed. It is also possible to adjust a saved skill later if necessary. Finally, you can test the skill online to confirm that everything works as intended.

picture showing the edit skill step

Step three: Done 

The final step simply involves exporting the taught skill as a manufacturer-specific code and running it on your robot. This is done within seconds via the Wandelbots App. You simply need to touch a button and the Software will create robot-specific program code. Basically, the skill is translated into the language of the respective robot. The advantage is that you run your program on the built-in controller of the robot, so it is natively compliant with all legal and company regulations. 

With the current version of Wandelbots Teaching, the taught skill can be exported as URP or UR-script to run directly on UR3, UR3e, UR5, UR5e, UR10 and UR10e robots. It can also be exported as JOB to run on Yaskawa AR1440. 

How Wandelbots Teaching Works

 

Conclusion 

Compared to other kinds of programming methods, teaching robots’ new skills by mere demonstration has proven to be the most viable not only in terms of cost and time savings but also in terms of the level of expertise required. The technology works by recording the movements of the user in real-time and space. The recorded movements are then visualized in the intuitive Wandelbots App where the user can edit and process the path. Finally, the skill is then converted to an immediately executable, manufacturer-specific code to run on the robot. 

Since no prior programming knowledge is required, this process can be easily adapted by anyone, from manual workers in the factory to students in schools and universities. The TracePen provides a similar experience to familiar manual tools such as welding guns as well as simple input devices like the mouse on your computer system. This means that the users get comfortable with the device right away. The easy and intuitive user interface of the Wandelbots App makes robot teaching much less complicated and much more exciting. The App is also similar to other mobile applications which everyone uses in their day-to-day life. One of the major advantages of Wandelbots Teaching is the fact that you can teach different robot brands on your shop floor with the same process. The result is that as a robot user, you can implement any robot brand of your choice without worrying about restructuring your current workforce or hiring new robot programmers.  

This new method of programming developed by Wandelbots now makes it possible for manual workers to become robot programmers themselves only within a few hours of using Wandelbots Teaching and without writing any code. This means that these manual experts can use their skills to further optimize the use of robots on shop floors. For instance, if a manual welder teaches a robot a new welding skill using Wandelbots Teaching, you can expect the result to be as precise as the robot gets while being as detailed and unique as the manual welder can be.  

If you would like to know more about how Wandelbots Teaching can work for you, contact us today or book an online demo to see the product in action. 

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01.10.2020
5G Summit,
Dresden, Germany

08.-11.12.2020
Automatica Munich, Germany
Hall C6 Stand 417

How Wandelbots Teaching Works
How Wandelbots Teaching Works
How Wandelbots Teaching Works
How Wandelbots Teaching Works

03./04.09.2020
Unhide the Champions,
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21.10.2020
Kollege Roboter,
Munich, Germany

How Wandelbots Teaching Works

03./04.09.2020
Unhide the Champions,
Virtal

How Wandelbots Teaching Works

01.10.2020
5G Summit,
Dresden, Germany

How Wandelbots Teaching Works

21.10.2020
Kollege Roboter,
Munich, Germany

How Wandelbots Teaching Works

08.-11.12.2020
Automatica Munich, Germany
Hall C6 Stand 417