#3 RobotWorks turns SW into a Robotic remote control

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Welcome to the 3rd post in our theme week about Robotics, in case you missed the previous 2 here is the links #1 When you should make room for robots and
#2 Fanuc Robotics Your Partner on the shop floor.

So yesterday was about the robot, now we are moving closer to home, we are actually going to sit down in front of our computer and click the Solidworks icon. Today it is all about RobotWorks the application that makes you Solidworks seat into a Robotic fireball, and also a Solidworks partner.

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Above is a screen shot of RobotWorks simulating polishing a jet plane window with double curvature going in overlapping #8 motion, try to do that without the right software, dude!. Check out the 44sec video here cadcamstuff.com on youtube

It is not really a very hard picture to imagine, you have just designed your new fixtures and loaded in your Robot template, a couple of mouse clicks and Robotworks is fired up inside your Solidworks interface and you are now programing the twist and turns for your robot. Sweetness!

So how does it work?
RobotWorks uses the user-selected faces and edges to create the points for the robot path. Saved tools and robot parameters let you easily define the environment and will help to create the path very quickly. The motion on screen shows the user when a path needs to be altered due to collision or reach problems. RobotWorks provides the user with handy tools to adjust and correct the path with only a few mouse clicks. Because of the integration of RobotWorks into SolidWorks the robot path becomes part of the cell design. This way, any changes to the robot cell, i.e. collision, will immediately update the models and drawings – ready to be manufactured!
RobotWorks also can easily handle the tough job of moving parts. The more complex the part and path, the more benefit the user will get by using RobotWorks.

It is clear that if your company already are using Solidworks it would make sense to consider at least a demo of Robotworks, but how do you connect the two applications, it seems like there could be a distance from the design room to the actual shop floor, or is it just us people who make it that way?
developer of RobotWorks, Mr. Nathan Naveh of Compucraft, Ltd. had this to say.

*RobotWorks extends the power of the mechanical engineer into MANUFACTURING, offering the same person not just to design parts but to verify they can be manufactured. And he does that inside his design environment SolidWorks, practically making the parts BETTER and CHEAPER in the same process.

So where to start?
Kevin Nelson from Blue Technik, the Robotworks reseller for America put things in perspective when I asked him what a robot rookie company should take into consideration before purchasing expensive robots and software.

*Just purchasing a robot usually is not the solution to the problem. A robot is only one part of a larger well-designed system of equipment, processes, and personnel that is useful in solving a problem. Similar admonitions hold for robotic OLP software. Purchasing robotic OLP software won’t cure a company’s lack of knowledgeable and talented personnel. It may augment ignorance, but won’t be a purchased substitute for intelligence and learning and “3D-Think”.

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Service and support
As with the robot, support and service offered is high on my radar. A small company can not live with long lasting down time either from mechanical or software related issues. Kevin Nelson followed up with these words:

*If the customer purchases the Support License, then they are entitled to email support and software upgrades. I also publish web-based video tutorials that my customers have found to be extremely useful. Occasionally we will augment this level of support for challenging situations with telephone support and web-based desktop sharing sessions

following this link Blue Technik learning center you will find the big amount of free video tutorials Blue Technik offers.
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So if you are at a point where you feel that robotics for sure could have a application in your shop, and you want it to do more than have it sitting on the shop floor looking pretty, I would say Robotworks is a pretty good candidate for you robotic software solution, designed to work with the six most popular six-axis arms used for path applications on the market today: KUKA, ABB, Motoman, Staubli, Kawasaki, and of course Fanuc.
I will like to thank Kevin Nelson from Blue Technik and Nathan Naveh of Compucraft, Ltd. for answering my questions.

Tomorrow we are going to shine the light on another robotic software, the other side of cadcamstuff.com, yep you guessed it, Mastercam also have a little robot kicking, like Robotworks for Solidworks there is RobotMaster for Mastercam.

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