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How to program a robot?

Robot programming is not at all as difficult as most companies think. With KUKA, robot programming is made so easy that anyone can do it.

Automation and robotization are no unknown concepts to anyone. An increasing number of companies realize that they will have to automate if they want to keep up with the market. Nevertheless, at KUKA we notice that there are still many entrepreneurs who are discouraged  by some preconceptions. For example, it appears that many entrepreneurs believe that it is very complex to learn how to program a robot. Such complexity is often a major barrier to any form of robotization or automation. At KUKA we know that in reality it is often much easier to program robots than most entrepreneurs expect. We briefly list which products make programming a piece of cake.

Optimization : What are the main tools for programming a robot?


Each KUKA robot is supplied with the "KUKA SmartPAD" teach pendant. The smartPAD is designed to even make complex operating tasks easy to program. So you don't have to be an expert to make a robot move. To get started, you set the KUKA SmartPAD in  T1 Mode. To make the robot move, you can choose to use the 6D mouse or the 6 jog keys that each operate a different robot axis. So you can easily make the robot move from point to point this way.
The smartPAD teach pendant is designed to make complex operating tasks easy to program.
Almost every KUKA robot runs on the operating system KSS (= KUKA System Software). The user-friendly structure of KSS is based on Windows. It contains all the basic functions needed to operate a robot. Each function can also be expanded with additional software packages allowing you to fully customize and expand the system to your needs and application specific requirements. To ensure that programming a robot is as user-friendly as possible, KSS also has inline forms for quick and error-free programming of tasks and movements. They can be accessed via menus on the SmartPAD and are available by default. You can consider this as programming templates that KUKA provides to help operators to program their robot.


Programming a robot using the KUKA SmartPAD is the first step. The next step is to program a robot using KUKA.WorkVisual. With this, you are going to move the robot via a programming code. The logic of the code in KUKA.WorkVisual is already checked in the background while the functions are being executed. Thus, errors in the code are detected and avoided from the very beginning. Projects run according to a certain logic and the entire code is built consistently. Interactions are made visible through visual tools and are therefore intuitive and easy to operate. The editor function helps you to write your code. Moreover, all this can be done without connecting to the robot. This allows you to make the necessary preparations even before the robot is delivered and to change programs without affecting the robot in production.
The logic of the code in KUKA.WorkVisual is already checked in the background while the functions are executed. Thus, errors in the code are detected and avoided right from the start.

What software is useful to program a robot?

With the KUKA SmartPAD and KUKA.WorkVisual, you can program any KUKA robot. To make it even easier for entrepreneurs, KUKA offers a number of other products that are of significant assistance. Some examples are:

KUKA.Sim simulation software

KUKA.Sim is a software package which enables users to simulate their entire robot installation offline even before purchasing the robot. In doing so, companies know perfectly in advance how their installation will run, against which speeds and the amount of output. Each movement that you would program on the production floor can now be simulated offline from behind your computer. This means that you can determine your layout in advance, detect possible problems and solve them immediately. Afterwards, you can transfer the simulation to the KUKA robot, check the movements and fine-tune them if necessary. No more manual programming work is required on-site. So with using this software, you save yourself a lot of time and headaches.
KUKA.Sim - Cell view
KUKA.Sim simulation software


With ready2_pilot from KUKA, you do not program a robot but teach it, or in other words guide it by hand. The control of KUKA ready2_pilot is done via a 6D mouse. This is comparable to the 6D mouse on the KUKA SmartPAD. You install it on your KUKA robot and you can start teaching immediately. It couldn't be easier! Incorrect movements can be avoided by simply deactivating unwanted directions. In this way you can't make a wrong move by suddenly sliding away while teaching your robot. Ready2_pilot is thus extremely user-friendly and immediately ready to use.
With ready2_pilot from KUKA, you do not program a robot but teach it, or in other words guide it by hand.

KUKA.PLC MxAutomation

With the software KUKA.PLC mxAutomation it is possible for external controllers with an embedded PLC to move KUKA robots based on basic motion instructions. The programmer therefore no longer needs any knowledge of robot programming. With KUKA.PLC mxAutomation he can move the robot via the PLC programming environment.


So, as entrepreneurs, do not be discouraged by any preconceptions about the complexity of robot programming. KUKA supports its customers with numerous products that enable any beginner to learn how to work with robots.