Installing robots via drag-and-drop

No robotics know-how is required to operate the intuitive software developed at Fraunhofer IPA. This enables a very flexible adjustment of production. Created programs can be easily loaded from the cloud, so that the robot can perform different tasks in the morning than in the afternoon. This allows industrial companies to react quickly to fluctuating order intake.

The software is now compatible with robots from eight manufacturers, including recently the robots from Yaskawa and Stäubli. In addition to the automotive and plant engineering industries, since 2019 industries such as metal processing and electronics manufacturing as well as the chemical industry have increasingly been relying on drag&bot. For 2020, the startup plans to further expand the compatible hardware to support an even broader range of hardware, as well as further integrations.

Pick&Place, loading, unloading and palletizing

Most customers of drag&bot GmbH rely on the handling of the robots with the software of the same name. This includes typical tasks such as pick & place, loading and unloading of machines and palletizing. Companies in the automotive sector and, since 2019, increasingly in the electronics production sector, are already using drag&bot intensively for these activities. However, flexible robot programming is also becoming increasingly important in metal processing.

Due to the high number of variants with small quantities, production with robots was previously too cost-intensive. Companies can use drag&bot with coordinated hardware and thus optimize the robot programs for small quantities with little effort. An equally growing customer segment is the chemical industry, which until now has only been able to use robots as special systems due to their complex operation.

Strategic cooperations

drag&bot GmbH increasingly works together with partners such as plant manufacturers and machine producers. The network has grown continuously in recent years. For example, with the company Placke, a manufacturer of edge benches and bending machines, the drag&bot software has been optimized for the fast and intuitive retooling of automated edge benches. drag&bot is thus available to the end customer as part of the manufacturer’s automation solution.

The company has also recently started cooperating with Basler AG, one of the leading manufacturers of industrial cameras. Together, the two companies want to link imaging sensor technology more closely with robotics. Using the interfaces in drag&bot, it is possible to configure any Basler camera directly from drag&bot and use it in the robotics application. Calibration between the robot and the camera is just as easy as the function blocks for common 2D image processing applications, such as pattern matching or searching for geometric shapes in a “region of interest”. The customer thus receives an industrial, inexpensive 2D camera with the possibility of using it very easily with robots.

In the field of 3D image processing with robots, the cameras from Roboception have recently also been made available to users. The smartcam rc_visard already offers prepared apps for many standard applications like picking boxes from a pallet or gripping parts from a box. These apps can be run directly on the rc_visard and can be configured intuitively. The camera functions can be controlled directly from drag&bot.

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