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#4 Mastercam turns robotic with RobotMaster

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Did you read the so informative post leading up to this one? if not here they are. #1 When you should make room for robots, #2 Fanuc Robotics Your Partner on the shop floor and #3 RobotWorks turns SW into a Robotic remote control

Welcome to RobotMaster, kinda like doubling the power of you CAD/CAM package.

So the talk yesterday was about controlling you robot inside Solidworks with the add-on RobotWorks, a delicious package for you CAD Software.
Today we are talking RobotMaster and Mastercam, the idea is the same, however most likely Mastercam users are going to feel more comfortable with RobotMaster, from the perspective that it is closer to a everyday task of programming a CNC machine.

Update July 15-2009
Check out this cool yourtube skull being done with RobotMaster Robot Skull

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So if you are familiar to Mastercam I dare to say that the above screen shot isn’t scary, it looks like Mastercam, it smells like Mastercam. After the user have created the curves and lines the Robot is to follow, RobotMaster module lets you pull in from a library the robot definition , it is something similar to known “machine group” in the standard Mastercam.
On the right side of the screen shot you see the RobotMaster Simulation control box, this are to check the robot motion, and display it differently, look at different joint angles, collisions etc. When everything is all fine tuned, much as in your normal Mastercam you will run it through a post processor that will give you the necessary code.
Tyler Robertson of In-House Solution, a Mastercam and RoboMaster reseller gave some great pointers in regards to things that should be considered when entering the world of robots and robot software.

*The most important questions will depend on the application of the robot(s), Automation is usually an engineered design for a complete system, designed to accomplish a specific task, and most companies will need to establish their own criteria for success which would then be agreed upon by each party when developing a solution for someone. There are some general questions people might find themselves asking:
– Are they the sole supplier of the system, or are they providing a solution from multiple partners
– Are there other companies currently using this type of Automation?
– What type of training would be required to use the system
– What is the support plan like?
– Can the system grow as business expands? How flexible/reconfigurable is the equipment/process?
– Are there secondary operations the system could be utilized for, should needs change?

For anyone starting fresh with robotics, a great starting reference is Industrial Robots by Andrew Glaser, National Sales manager for robot integrator Ellison Technologies Automation (http://new.industrialpress.com/9780831133580)

If you have read #1 through #4 of this robot theme week, I think you can start dragging the red thread through each advice recieved, and you have to be a little more comfortable entering the world of robots now.

RobotMaster supports all major robotic manufactures and that of course include our friend from post blog #2 Fanuc Robotics Your Partner on the shop floor
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Tyler Robertson had this to add.

*Robotmaster has default post processors to generate code for Fanuc, ABB, Kuka, Motoman and Staubli robots, and we work with our users on an install to has their post processors integrated with their required customizations, and provide access to further customize their code output should need arise. What Robotmaster has to offer is a system built on an industry standard software (Mastercam) that can be used to program robot trajectories for a variety of popular robot brands. Even in small companies, there is often some form of CAD/CAM software, so using Robotmaster can leverage the existing knowledge of people in industry, and provide them with a common interface to manage their robot programming operations. The programs generated using Robotmaster are ready to be loaded straight to the robot control.

The advantage of using robots is clear for many applications, Robotmaster helps you program your robot to do some very complicated task. beneath is a picture of a skateboard being sanded, an application that by human hand never would have same consistency outcome as a robot, do I dare to say the robot does a better job……..yes I do.
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click here to see a skateboard being 6 axis sanded, like a symphony of moves.

What about the support and maintenance?
Tyler Robertson:
*Robotmaster works through a network of resellers and integrators both in the Americas and internationally. We work with our resellers to provide support via phone, internet and local site support. Many of our resellers have been involved in CAD/CAM software and support for decades and have been providing local support for their customer base.

Conclusion
It is fair to say that RobotMaster fits nicely into the Mastercam interface, and with that add-on you just took your work cell to the next level. One of the major Mastercam reseller In-House Solution who also hosts Mastercams forum has a very informative website for you to exploere.
I will like to thank Tyler Robertson of In-House Solution for answering all my questions.

If you are reading this, and are looking for the beginning of Robot Week go here #1 When you should make room for robots

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Robot Theme Week on cadcamstuff.com has ended
3 great companies who seems to be able to get the job done. I again will like to thank Cathy Powell of Fanuc Robotics, Kevin Nelson from Blue Technik, Nathan Naveh of Compucraft, Ltd. and Tyler Robertson of In-House Solution for answering all my questions.
If you have any experience and advice on the field of Robotics I encourage you to leave comments, let the knowledge flow free.

#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.

#1 When you should make room for robots

With a new Star Trek movie out and a lot of talk about “cloud” computing you got to feel that the future is chasing you down a dark alley in a way like only the new Terminator can. The future is about new things, so that is what we also are going to do on cadcamstuff.com
We welcome you to Theme Week!
So hold on to your socks, for the next 4 days you are going to get a doze of robots attacking you from different sides.
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We have all seen the the symphony of industrial robots welding cars on TV, a musical that lately have become very silent.
Saying the phrase “mama and papa shop”, and then throw in the word Robots and some people will lift an eye brow.
There was a time when that kinda shops where for making custom garden gates and welding up exhaust pipes, but more and more of those types of shops turned into high tech manufacturing facilities using the same machines and software as big league companies like Boeing and Ford Motor company.

Should mama and papa consider robots as there next step on the ladder? the answer is absolutely not to eliminate jobs necessarily, but to increase work flow in a high tech world.

So where do you start?
The following 3 days on cadcamstuff.com are dedicated in the name of Robotics, and each day will introduce a kick of robot power.

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Fanuc Robotics
A leading supplier of robotic automation with over 200,000 robots installed worldwide, oh and yes they use Solidworks!

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RobotWorks
Stuffed right inside your Solidworks screen, making your favorite design software into a robot controlling device.

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RobotMaster
To load or handle the product after you programed your CNC monster, no worries with this program Mastercam made full circle.

So when to consider these monsters?
From machining, welding, deburing, moving, loading/unloading, painting, scanning, assembling, anything that have the task of repeatability in it would most likely possible with Robotic power.
Does it sound like something very complicated and expensive adventure, well for a little inspiration check out Fanuc Robotics, Robotworks, RobotMaster. Hey evenebay or maybe read a couple of topics on Robot-Forum and then of course subscribe to this pages RSS feed and follow a long for the theme week on Robots on cadcamstuff.com

So make sure you set that alarm clock for tomorrow, because you will get your cup of coffee served with a bright crunchy piece off yellow Fanuc robot.

If you are awake now click #2 Fanuc Robotics Your Partner on the shop floor