SIMULATION in robotics is an innovative way that opens up new possibilities of working smarter. The more complex your business, the more room there is for innovation. At the same time, innovation cannot come at the cost of current efficiency, quality, and output levels. According to Rudi von Fintel, Durban Branch Manager at Yaskawa Southern Africa, this is where the combination of robotics and simulation software provides incredible value as a platform to test and experiment.
“For many years now, robotics assisted various industries in automating their processes,” says von Fintel . “Simulation is equally important as it enables businesses to test any new processes in 3D before rolling them out in their factories.”
Much like its name suggests, simulation creates a sandbox for testing. By creating a 3D environment, anyone is able to program a process, see how it works, how long it will take, and if it fits in with the current production line. More importantly, it takes away the guesswork or the need to spend time and money in physically recreating the process in a real-world setting – which would be futile if the process doesn’t work in the first place.
“Simulation is used to test robotic requirements before they are implemented to ensure that the need is addressed and that it will work in a situation,” von Fintel says. “Depending on the package you use, you could build your entire production facility in the 3D world and see a simulated version of the factory in action.” Additionally, simulation encourages a business to develop new and innovative processes since it is a safe environment that allows you to make errors and experiment.
Robotic simulation has been highly effective in the automotive and food manufacturing industries
Take baking as an example. Robotic process automation (RPA) is used for mixing dough and cutting out cookie shapes or creating cookie cutters. Now, imagine a new shape is introduced as a concept or even for a special product release. Through 3D simulation, a business will be able to see what it looks like and if it is possible for the machine to create the shape; instead, of pushing forward with an untested process that could flop in both senses of the word.
It isn’t only the automotive or food manufacturing industries that are reaping the benefits, as 3D simulation holds the power to make a significant difference in all industries. In health care, for instance, a simulated program could be used for practices such as surgery, rehabilitation, or therapy. With people’s lives and well-being at stake, it is essential to ensure that the robotics program is not only accurate but also safe for the patient and operator. In short, this simulation could be the differentiating factor in saving and changing lives.
“The pandemic taught us that we need to be more flexible in the way we work but to also be smarter in how we operate,” von Fintel concludes. “Using robotics and simulation opens up new possibilities and opportunities for businesses to increase their output and productivity without sacrificing on quality or causing unnecessary strain on the production line. A 3D simulation lets you iron out the processes in the digital world before they’re implemented in the real one. It is an innovative way that we can turn new ideas into reality.”