June 6, 2022
Realtime Robotics, which develops collision-free autonomous motion planning software for industrial robots, has announced the release of its new RapidPlan software, aimed to help manufacturers design and deploy industrial automation faster and more efficiently.
In industrial settings, each robot in use needs a complex path for each task that identifies a string of points in space, Realtime Robotics said. Depending on the complexity of the project, such as the number of robots being programmed, the number of tasks, and whether users are starting from scratch or making modifications – all of these can make the entire process take from weeks to months of engineering time to accomplish.
Realtime said the RapidPlan software autonomously creates and choreographs all robot movements and removes the need for brand-specific robot programming. Within the software environment, users click on robots and target points to visualize task plans, saving weeks to months of programming time per project. The same software provides the simulation environment and controls real robots. Cell modeling, task planning, programming and operations are all handled within the same workflow tool, the company said. The motions in simulation and as-built reality match, which dramatically speeds up the design and deployment processes.
If anything changes, such as geometry or robot locations, automated robot paths remain collision-free, giving manufacturers highly flexible, multi-purpose work cells, Realtime said. The software can adapt to changing environments, either using information from PLCs or from dedicated 3D sensors.
“Optimizing the efficiency of your industrial and factory operations should not be held back by technical barriers,” said George Konidaris, co-founder and chief roboticist at Realtime Robotics. “We specifically designed RapidPlan to deliver an accurate simulation of robot task planning, making it easy to program models and use them directly on the factory floor, but did so in a way that streamlined the process and made the technology easy to use for all.”
One of the challenges typically challenging for a multi-robot setup is bin picking, the companies said, as users don’t know the exact part location for picking, which then makes it challenging to predict an accurate collision-free path for multiple robots trying to complete tasks in the same area. Through RapidPlan, robot space reservations are released in real time as soon as the robot moves to another location, which dramatically improves cycle time or other parameters that users prioritize.
The software consists of two components:
- RapidPlan Create, which lets users create a digital twin work cell. Users import cell elements, such as CAD files or other components from a library, then click and point to create targets and goals. The software then automatically generates offline programs and interlock locations for industrial robots.
- RapidPlan Control, which makes collision-free operation a reality for industrial settings and factory floors. Motions remain collision-free, even after live floor changes. Automated fault recovery provides high flexibility and adaptability to robot cells.
Realtime said the RapidPlan launch marks a shift towards software products, based on customer feedback. The RapidPlan software is compatible with engineering workstations, field laptops and industrial PCs, giving customers the option to utilize the software on their choice of hardware.
At this week’s Automate 2022 event in Detroit, Realtime Robotics planned to show demonstrations of the software with two of its new partners, Kawasaki Robots and Mitsubishi Electric Automation. For more details on Realtime Robotics and RapidPlan, visit its website here.