ABB Robotics had a lot of nifty technology to showcase at FABTECH 2021 this year, held at the McCormick Place in Chicago from Sept 13 through 16, 2021.
Two in particular, showing welding, were interesting.
ArcPack U2 Welding Cell w/ Scalable Robotics Programming Platform. The ArcPack U2, the newest member of ABB’s family of standard, pre-engineered FlexArc welding cells, simplifies the transition from manual to robotic welding. Equipped with an intuitive, human-robot programming interface from Scalable Robotics (https://scalablerobotics.ai), an operator can now teach a task to the robot in the same way one would teach another person - just by pointing to where the weld should be applied and letting the robot learn the path on its own.
The Scalable Robotics platform will generate a weld path that is validated within RobotStudio, ABB’s offline simulation programming software. The operator can then make any final modifications, and the robot will auto-tune the program using standard sensing technologies, according to the company.
The company also notes that the claimed modest cost of the ArcPack U2 cell, coupled with the easy and intuitive Scalable Robotics programming platform, addresses concerns of excessive capital investment and a lengthy learning curve - common barriers of entry to robotic welding. "Users can realistically begin welding the same day the system is delivered."
ABB’s new GoFa collaborative robot dressed for welding. GoFa is designed so customers need not rely on robot programming specialists. This will help end-users be able to operate the cobot within minutes of installation, straight out of the box, with no specialized training. Visitors to the booth were able to use ABB’s customizable two-button Lead-Through Programming function. By moving the robot in the desired weld path, visitors will create their own weld program, and watch GoFa replicate that path.
A main point of differentiation from other leading collaborative robots, according to the company, is that in addition to Lead-through Programming, users will also have the option of utilizing ABB’s RAPID programming language, supported by RobotStudio and the Arc Welding PowerPac II, for higher level welding applications.