Motion Control & Drives


The advantages of robotics and simulation for your business

July 2022 Motion Control & Drives

Simulation in robotics is an innovative way up new possibilities of working smarter, says Rudi von Fintel, Durban Branch Manager at Yaskawa Southern Africa.

The more complex your business is, the more room there is for innovation. At the same time, innovation cannot come at the cost of efficiency, quality and output levels. According to Von Fintel, this is where the combination of robotics and simulation software provides incredible value as a platform to test and experiment.

“For many years, robotics assisted various industries in automating their processes,” von Fintel says. “Simulation is equally important as it enables businesses to test any new processes in 3D before rolling them out in their factories.”

Much like its name suggests, simulation creates a sandbox for testing. By creating a 3D environment, anyone is able to program a process, see how it works, how long it will take, and if it fits in with the current production line. More importantly, it takes away the or the need to spend time and money in physically recreating the process in a real-world setting – which would be futile if the process does not work in the first place.

“Simulation is used to test robotic requirements before they are implemented to ensure that the need is addressed and that it will work in a situation,” von Fintel continues. “Depending on the package you use, you could build your entire production facility in the 3D world and see a simulated version of the factory in action.” Additionally, simulation encourages a business to develop new and innovative processes since it is a safe environment that allows it to experiment and make errors.

Robotic simulation has been highly effective in the automotive and food manufacturing industries. Take baking as an example. Robotic process automation (RPA) is used for mixing dough and cutting out cookie shapes or creating cookie cutters. Now imagine a new shape is introduced as a concept or even for a special product release. Through 3D simulation, a business will be able to see what it looks like and if it is possible for the machine to create the shape instead of pushing forward with an untested process that could flop in both senses of the word.

It is not only the automotive or food manufacturing industries that are reaping the benefits, as 3D simulation holds the power to make a significant difference in all industries. In healthcare for instance, a simulated program could be utilised for practices such as surgery, rehabilitation or therapy. With people’s lives and wellbeing at stake, it is essential to ensure that the robotics program is not only accurate, but also safe for the patient and operator. In short, this simulation could be the differentiating factor in saving and changing lives.

“The pandemic taught us that we need to be more flexible in the way we work but to also be smarter in how we operate,” von Fintel concludes. “Using robotics and simulation opens up new possibilities and opportunities for businesses to increase their output and productivity without sacrificing on quality or causing unnecessary strain on the production line. A 3D simulation lets you iron out the processes in the digital world before they are implemented in the real one. It is an innovative way of turning new ideas into reality.”

Founded in 1915 by Keiichiro Yasukawa, Yaskawa is one of the largest manufacturers of industrial robots, with over 400 000 robots installed worldwide. Since 1991, Yaskawa Southern Africa has installed in excess of 2500 Yaskawa Motoman robots in the automotive, manufacturing and packaging industries in South Africa. As an industry leader, Yaskawa offers turnkey system solutions to a multitude of industries and 24/7 countrywide robotic support.




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