• ZF Friedrichshafen Success Story
Offizielles Log ZF Friedrichshafen

Pro­gram­ming and sim­u­la­tion of robot appli­ca­tions inde­pen­dently of manufacturers

ZF FRIEDRICHSHAFEN AG

CHAL­LENGE

ZF Friedrichshafen is one of the largest auto­mo­tive sup­pli­ers world­wide. Uwe Wachter is Head of the Pro­duc­tion Tech Cen­ter Robotics and Vision at ZF Friedrichshafen. He reports, “About three and a half years ago, we founded the Pro­duc­tion Tech Cen­ter Robotics based in Schwe­in­furt. We are the divi­sion within the ZF Group that is respon­si­ble for new pro­duc­tion tech­nolo­gies such as light­weight robots, cam­era sys­tems or soft­ware solu­tions. We act as an inter­nal ser­vice provider by sup­port with advice, devel­op­ment and training.”

In his role as a tech­nol­ogy scout and con­sul­tant, Uwe Wachter is always look­ing for new solu­tions that make work­ing at ZF eas­ier. That is how he became aware of the ArtiMinds software.

APPLI­CA­TION

It is a great advan­tage for ZF, to develop a robot appli­ca­tion in the RPS once and let­ting it run on dif­fer­ent robot sys­tems at any time. Wachter explains, “If, for exam­ple, we develop an appli­ca­tion for robots from man­u­fac­turer A in Schwe­in­furt, we can then gen­er­ate the exe­cutable pro­gram for robots from man­u­fac­turer B from this source code and send this pro­gram by e-mail to our plant in Por­tu­gal. Then the col­leagues in Por­tu­gal can run the same pro­duc­tion with their robot sys­tem B as we do in Schwe­in­furt with robot sys­tem A. Only the soft­ware from ArtiMinds offers us this flexibility.”

Sim­u­la­tion are another main task. For this pur­pose, Arnold reg­u­larly uses the Robot Pro­gram­ming Suite. He explains, “We are often con­fronted with the task of esti­mat­ing whether or not a robot can meet a cer­tain cycle time in a given situation.”

In the past when faced with the task of con­duct­ing such fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies, ZF had to install the robot sys­tem on site at great expense, develop the appro­pri­ate appli­ca­tion and test whether the sys­tem could meet the spec­i­fied cycle time.

WHY ARTIMINDS?

“After the first talks and pre­sen­ta­tions I knew: that’s exactly what we need. The Robot Pro­gram­ming Suite enables us to do uni­ver­sal robot pro­gram­ming at a qual­i­ta­tively higher level.”

UWE WACHTER
Head of Pro­duc­tion Tech Cen­ter Robotics and Vision at ZF

WHY ARTIMINDS?

“After the first talks and pre­sen­ta­tions I knew: that’s exactly what we need. The Robot Pro­gram­ming Suite enables us to do uni­ver­sal robot pro­gram­ming at a qual­i­ta­tively higher level.”

UWE WACHTER
Head of Pro­duc­tion Tech Cen­ter Robotics and Vision at ZF

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SOLU­TION

With the Robot Pro­gram­ming Suite, ZF can not only pro­gram but also sim­u­late appli­ca­tions, thus sav­ing time and costs. Jonas Arnold explains, “The visu­al­iza­tion allows us to iden­tify poten­tial prob­lems in advance. This already starts with the spa­tial con­di­tions. Does the avail­able space even offer suf­fi­cient free­dom of movement?”

In addi­tion, when using col­lab­o­ra­tive robots, spe­cial stan­dards must met in order to ensure the safety of human-robot col­lab­o­ra­tion. Arnold explains, “We must eval­u­ate in advance, for exam­ple, where col­li­sions between humans and robots could be pos­si­ble. Can the robot arm reach head height? Are there pos­si­ble clamp­ing points? In order to ensure safety, we have to com­ply with force as well as pres­sure val­ues and limit the speed of the robot’s move­ments. Dur­ing the grip­ping process, we must allow for inac­cu­ra­cies that cause time delays. We can assess all of this more eas­ily by sim­u­lat­ing it with the Robot Pro­gram­ming Suite.”

In addi­tion, ZF also had some automa­tion tasks for which they worked out good solu­tions for the imple­men­ta­tion of the robot pro­gram together with the ArtiMinds project team. Arnold praises the coop­er­a­tion and close col­lab­o­ra­tion, “At ArtiMinds we always find open ears and help­ful­ness. In this way a beau­ti­ful and sta­ble part­ner­ship has devel­oped between us.”

“For me, the great­est advan­tage of the RPS is the many flex­i­ble fea­tures that allow us to sim­u­late appli­ca­tions even before they are actu­ally built and also to imple­ment new, pre­vi­ously non-auto­mated tasks.”

– JONAS ARNOLD, Engi­neer for col­lab­o­ra­tive robots at ZF

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