Robot Programming Made Easy – For SMEs

Aug 21, 2020

Small and medium-sized enterprises are of immense importance to the German economy. They make up 99% of all companies in Germany and employ over half of all employees. With relatively low investments and small production, they generate approximately every 2nd Euro in Germany and are often additionally strong partners for large companies by offering additional services. Although SMEs contribute strongly to the GDP of the national economy, their small production limits their ability to adopt technologies that (in the past) required huge investments, such as robots. All this is changing now! We are changing the status quo with a low-cost technology that allows even laymen to teach robots themselves within minutes. This enables SMEs to continue producing small batches, to engage employees in more complex processes, and to do all this without spending large sums of money on the running costs of a robot. 

Until now, SMEs have faced a variety of challenges when purchasing robots. A 2019 study by “The Manufacturer” on the introduction of robots in SMEs identified several challenges that limited the ability of SMEs to adopt robots. The following 3 points address the main challenges and how Wandelbots solves them to enable SMEs to adopt and use these technologies.

Lack of flexibility

Problem: Flexibility in terms of automation is a major decision factor – especially for small and medium-sized companies. Processes must be able to be adapted to different options in order to guarantee a higher product variation. Until now, however, robots have been very inflexible to use because they always had to be programmed by experts in a robot-dependent coding language.

Solution: The Wandelbots TracePen is a hand-held pen that automatically transfers human movements to robots. This means that robots can be taught new skills by simply “demonstrating” the skills themselves. No robot types need to be taken into account, as the software works independently of the robot manufacturer. This makes the teaching of robots very easy and can be done without experts.

High cost

Problem: The costs of automation are relatively high compared to the ROI for SMEs. However, this is because almost 70% of the total cost of a robot is spent on programming and other software applications.

Solution: These programming costs are minimized to a fraction by the Wandelbots software. Teaching with the TracePen is up to 10 times less expensive than conventional programming and still saves time. Neither expensive robot-programming experts nor long waiting times for system integrators are necessary with this software.

Small batch sizes

Problem: Unlike large companies, SMEs often produce in such small quantities that robots may not be feasible. It seems impractical to program or set up a robot just to produce such small quantities and constantly change the whole process.

Solution: The TracePen is designed for exactly such scenarios. The intuitive app allows for quick robot re-training and easy implementation so that the production of small batches using robots is no longer a problem. A robot can be reprogrammed within minutes. There are no long production downtimes and production with batch size 1 can still be realized.

Now that you have already gained a first insight into how Wandelbots solves the problem of robot adoption for SMEs, it is time to see the product in action yourself, because seeing is believing! 

In mid-June Wandelbots launched the TracePen as part of a series of online events. Although it was originally planned to present this product at the Automatica trade fair to give participants the opportunity to try it out for themselves, the current global pandemic led to the rapid change to a safer alternative. The series of events includes demonstrations where the TracePen was used to teach a universal robot a gluing application and an ABB robot a deburring application. If you did not have the opportunity to attend the seminar sessions, you can still view the entire series here. We recorded everything to make sure you don’t miss out on any of it. 

At the end of each event, we received various questions about the product which were answered by our experts. This is an aspect of a real fair that we also incorporated into the online event series to ensure that our participants were fully involved in the entire event. The questions as well as all answers to these questions have also been compiled here for you.

If you would like to start your journey into automation, contact us now to learn more about our technology and everything it can do for you. We make robotics accessible for everyone!

Article published by Kollege Roboter.

“50% of all tasks will be done by robots in 2025”
World Economics Forum 2018

About the authors

Annelie Harz

Marketing Specialist

 

Dikachi Chizim

Communications & Social Media Working Student

 

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Kollege Roboter,
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Automatica Munich, Germany
Hall C6 Stand 417