Robotics Simulation and Virtual Commissioning

The welding arm on the automobile production line is being welded

Industrial robots have played a role in automotive manufacturing since 1961, and all major carmakers have used them to some extent. In recent years, however, technology advancements in electrification, smart sensors, artificial intelligence (AI), and the industrial internet of things (IIoT) have resulted in a new wave of advanced industrial robotics. Due to this increased complexity, automotive manufacturers are at higher risk of programming and installation errors during commissioning, leading to significant downtime and costly start-up delays. Those manufacturers who engineer, program, and deploy their robots efficiently and effectively will gain a competitive edge over other manufacturers. A robotics simulation and virtual commissioning solution allows automotive OEMs to design, engineer, and optimize factory production lines virtually before installing them physically. This virtual environment results in multiple advantages, including faster time-to-market, quality and safety improvements, warranty reduction, increased capacity, and manufacturing flexibility.

Industrial robots have played a role in automotive manufacturing since 1961, and all major carmakers have used them to some extent. In recent years, however, technology advancements in electrification, smart sensors, artificial intelligence (AI), and the industrial internet of things (IIoT) have resulted in a new wave of advanced industrial robotics. Due to this increased complexity, automotive manufacturers are at higher risk of programming and installation errors during commissioning, leading to significant downtime and costly start-up delays. Those manufacturers who engineer, program, and deploy their robots efficiently and effectively will gain a competitive edge over other manufacturers. A robotics simulation and virtual commissioning solution allows automotive OEMs to design, engineer, and optimize factory production lines virtually before installing them physically. This virtual environment results in multiple advantages, including faster time-to-market, quality and safety improvements, warranty reduction, increased capacity, and manufacturing flexibility.

Large yellow robotic factory arm working

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Smart Manufacturing with Advanced Robotics

In today's automotive industry, disruptive trends like electrification and autonomation along with stricter environmental regulations have intensified engineering and manufacturing efforts, adding a challenging level of complexity. While automotive manufacturing processes have included robots and automation for decades, traditional robotics are already falling behind due to space limitations, constrained functionality, programming methods, and commissioning workflow. In the future, manufacturers and assembly plant line developers will need to focus on flexibility and autonomy to deliver the personalized products that consumers demand while meeting current business models and targets. Historically, the commissioning of automation equipment has come last in the value chain, after the product design, tooling development, and control engineering have been completed in hardware. With the rising level of complexity, this siloed process will take too long, cost too much, and put production at risk. A solution that includes robotics simulation and virtual commissioning empowers line planners and manufacturers to modernize and commission their robotics equipment quickly and reliably, giving them significant advantages over their competition.

Virtual Commissioning of Advanced Robotics

In recent years, the advancement of robotics technology has accelerated to keep pace with the rapidly changing automotive industry. This progress, including hardware improvements such as vision/force sensors and automated guided vehicles (AGVs) as well as emerging digital technologies like the industrial internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI), has made the commissioning of automotive production lines increasingly complicated. With a comprehensive digital twin of manufacturing, automakers can simulate the production process in high fidelity, including mechanical and electrical aspects. This collaborative digital environment allows OEMs to complete the manufacturing process and tooling designs, robotics engineering, and automation (PLCs, sensors) programming simultaneously. The manufacturer can validate the design and optimize the production process in the virtual world, minimizing the risk of disruption after installation in the physical world. With task-oriented offline programming and virtual commissioning technology, they can program the robots and translate the simulated robotics operations to the factory floor. This virtual development of manufacturing enables a rapid factory evolution, supporting the end-to-end design of production stations and assembly lines. Progress in digital technologies, such as physics modeling, low code robot programming, and automated robot path planning, will further increase engineering authenticity and efficiency. Robotics simulation and virtual commissioning maximizes the benefits of factory automation for OEMs, suppliers, and startups in today’s automotive industry.

Large yellow robotic factory arm working

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