ABB has created a wizard to program its single-arm YuMi robots. The Easy Programming Wizard is a graphical method designed to enable users to quickly create robot application programs. The idea is to deploy a robot without the need to hire employees with specialized training. “Easy Programming makes robots easier to install, program, and operate without specialized training,” says Andie Zhang, ABB’s global product manager for Collaborative Robotics. “This reduces barriers for first-time robot-users to implement automation.”
The ABB wizard consists of programming blocks that control ABB’s single-arm YuMi robot. (Image source: ABB)
The wizard uses an open-source visual coding method. “The Easy Programming software is built on the concept of Blockly, which presents programming language or code as interlocking blocks,” says Zhang. “By using this simplified approach our Wizard allows users to program and use the single-arm YuMi robot without prior knowledge of any robot programming language.” He notes that a user can drag and drop these functions on the FlexPendant to adjust the robot’s actions quickly.
The goal is to enable small businesses to experience the benefits of robots without the assistance of a pricy programmer. “We want to help first-time robot users realize the possibilities of automation,” says Zhang. “We’ve reduced the learning curve for new users by simplifying the programming. The idea is to reduce the cost, time, and skills required to implement collaborative automation. This helps companies that lack a dedicated engineering or automation programming resource.”
The ultimate goal for collaborative robot producers is to create automation in the form of a robot that can be put to work by the employees whose work is replaced by the automation. Small manufacturers don’t want to deploy automation to replace labor only to have to hire higher skilled – and more expensive – new workers.
The Wizard became available as a pre-installed application on the FlexPendant device for all new single-arm YuMi robots after its release at the end of March. “The Wizard easy programming software is available for free, and the new software will also be made available to existing YuMi customers in the form of a free add-in that can be installed via RobotStudio to the FlexPendant,” says Zhang.
ABB plans to expand the Wizard Easy Programming to its other robots in the future.