Robotics: Software trial could help engineers build skills

Bright spots of robotic sales could make free development software even more useful.

05/14/2009


Denso Robotics software

Denso Corp. is encouraging engineers to take the next three months to try out—for free—its WinCaps III software with 3D simulation feature.

Engineers can prepare for better economic times ahead by learning how offline robotic programming software can save valuable development time. Although sales of robotic systems are down, according to the Robotic Industries Association, the time is right to use downtime to improve skills. Denso Corp. is encouraging engineers to take the next three months to try out—for free—its WinCaps III software with 3D simulation feature.

“Our customers constantly tell us how much time WinCaps III saves them and how much easier it makes their jobs,” said Peter Cavallo, robotics sales manager, Denso Sales California. “We are confident that this free trial will show many others how they can benefit too.”

Denso’s WinCaps III software allows users to import computer-aided design (CAD) drawings in standard VRML and DirectX formats, and a 3D simulation feature enables layout of an automation workcell in a virtual environment, without the robot having to be in operation. Users can verify reach, determine obstacle clearances, detect collisions, troubleshoot and debug programs, and determine cycle time.

The software also allows remote monitoring of workcell operations via realtime I/O status indicators and detailed control logs. A panel‑design feature enables customization of the robot controller’s teaching-pendant display.Obtain a three-month free trial of WINCAPS III offline programming software by visiting Denso’s Web site .

Denso, headquartered in Kariya, Aichi prefecture, Japan, is reportedly the world’s largest user of small assembly robots, with more than 17,000 used in its own manufacturing facilities. Denso Robotics also offers a full line of robots, controllers, and software, and more than 42,000 Denso robots

Use of robotics up in food, pharma industries
Separately, according to new statistics from Robotic Industries Association (RIA), North American robot orders dropped 31% in first quarter 2009 (compared to first quarter 2008), but rose 16% over fourth quarter 2008. “As expected, the current economic crisis is having a major impact on robotics companies, not just in North America, but throughout the world,” said Jeffrey A. Burnstein, president of RIA. Certain industries, however, revealed bright spots.

Tammy Mulcahy of ABB Robotics , who chairs RIA’s Statistics Committee, said the food and consumer goods industries posted a 50% increase in robot orders in the first quarter, while the life sciences/pharmaceutical/biomedical/medical devices industries saw a 76% increase. “These industries, along with many others, offer promising long-term applications for robotics that are largely untapped,” Mulcahy said.

RIA estimates that more than 188,000 robots are now being used in the United States, placing the U.S. second only to Japan in overall robot use.

RIA hopes to jump-start demand at the upcoming International Robots, Vision & Motion Control Show slated for June 9-11 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont (Chicago), Illinois.

– Edited by Renee Robbins , senior editor
Control Engineering News Desk

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