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Programming robots in next to no time: hand guiding with KUKA ready2_pilot

Automation brings many advantages for companies, particularly in the case of dangerous, strenuous or monotonous tasks. The sticking point often remains the programming, however. How do you teach the mechanical assistant what it should do? By means of hand guiding: KUKA ready2_pilot solves this problem.

05 February 2021

There are countless application scenarios for the use of robots in companies: welding, drilling and bonding are just three examples of tasks that machines can perform quickly, untiringly and with consistently high quality. At the same time, however, automation also entails digitalization. After all, the use of robots in industry rarely refers to just the machine itself. The robot controller and software are also included. That is precisely where the challenge lies for many companies. According to a study conducted by the industry association Bitkom and the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts (ZDH), while 81 percent of companies asked responded that they are open for innovations, some 64 percent of respondents expressed reservations with regard to digital technologies.

Hand guiding instead of time-consuming programming

One of the main obstacles preventing robots from becoming more widespread is frequently the aspect of operator control. Potential users believe that they would have to invest heavily in training and personnel and thus frequently reject robotic solutions for this reason. The solution to this challenge is called ready2_pilot from KUKAIn line with the “easy programming” principle, the solution is aimed primarily at companies without particular experience in robot programming.
Met hand guiding via de Commander bestuurt de operator de robot.
The operator controls the robot by means of hand guiding via the Commander.
Het totale pakket voor ‘easy programming’: Hand guiding met ready2_pilot van KUKA.
The overall package for "easy programming": hand guiding with ready2_pilot from KUKA.

Hand guiding – teaching the robot by means of manual guidance

The employee guides the robot manually along a workpiece using the “Commander”, a type of 6D mouse, and “shows” it what it is supposed to do. The motions are converted to commands via the wireless connection to the teach pendant; these commands can then be freely modified or added to as required. In this way, tasks can be recorded very quickly by simply moving your hand.
Het totale pakket voor ‘easy programming’: Hand guiding met ready2_pilot van KUKA.
As easy as doing it yourself: hand guiding of an industrial robot with ready2_pilot

Wireless robot control package: KUKA ready2_pilot

“easy programming” with ready2_pilot

Teaching the robot by hand, as if performing the task yourself

The tool used for this is the “Commander”, a control head that is similar to the 6D mouse on the KUKA smartPAD, that can be moved in all directions and also recognizes forward and backward commands. The Commander can be attached directly to the robot in just a few steps and responds very sensitively. In this way, work steps can be performed directly on the workpiece. The major advantage: even people with little experience quickly get used to the robot in this way and simply “give” it tasks without the need for in-depth training or certification. Furthermore, the Commander is multifunctional. It can be used equally with all robot types, so the investment pays for itself very quickly.

Het hartstuk van ready2_pilot: de controller voor de exacte handgeleiding van een industriële robot.
The heart of ready2_pilot: the controller for precise hand guiding of an industrial robot.

With our hand guiding system ready2_pilot, employees work practically hand in hand with the robot. Guiding the robot arm feels almost like carrying out the welding, drilling or bonding task yourself.

Dieter Rothenfußer, Handling, Machining & Processing Portfolio Manager at KUKA