Programming industrial robots – How drag&bot Wizards work

In Germany, around 20,000 new industrial robots are installed every year. By 2025, the market is expected to continue growing by around 10 percent per year, as in addition to the automotive industry, sectors such as mechanical engineering, electronics manufacturing and plastics processing will increasingly use robots in production. Currently, robots are usually adapted and reprogrammed at most once a year. Programming is time-consuming and cost-intensive, as external developers are usually commissioned to do this. At drag&bot we have been dealing with methods for simple programming of industrial robots for over 10 years now. With our software, industrial robots can be reprogrammed without the expert knowledge of production staff and, if necessary, on a daily basis, so that they can be used flexibly for manufacturing processes.

Parameters of function blocks are defined via the drag&bot Wizards

The drag&bot programming interface contains various operating and input aids that string together and combine functional sequences. The so-called Wizards support the user in parameterizing the individual function sequences. Special features: The user does not have to type in a huge number of parameter values manually. For example, in the “Move” function block of the robot, the route (so-called trajectories) must be defined as a parameter. The user can define the points of the route in different ways:

  1. Either the robot is moved to the corresponding points via the robot’s teach panel or the robot is moved to the corresponding points via the robot’s teach panel
  2. By simply “pulling” the robot arm to the right place especially with collaborating robots)
  3. Using the drag&bot Operators Panel

Also other ways of path definition, e.g. by gesture control, can be used without problems and are fully supported.

Parameters can also be defined e.g. via camera systems and corresponding image processing and then passed on to another function block for further processing of the information. For example, image processing can detect the screw holes in a workpiece and then transmit these positions to the motion block of the robot in order to move there.

There are also special wizards for force-controlled movements that clearly explain what parameters are required for and help the user step by step with the correct settings of these function blocks. For example, in the case of a simple, force-controlled movement along an axis, it is possible to determine the speed at which the robot is to move and the force required in this dimension as the abort criterion. For example, the robot can move in one direction until it encounters a correspondingly large resistance.



In order to define more complex functional sequences, users can also access so-called Guides in drag&bot. These are step-by-step instructions with explanatory graphics and animations that help the user to quickly and easily create a program structure for typical, recurring function sequences – such as gripping or depositing parts in a grid or pallet. Guides in turn generate programs in a tree structure that can be further individualized later at any time.


Skill sharing via the cloud

In order to transfer programmed sequences from one robot to another or to share programs with corresponding users within the company, the programmed functions are stored encrypted in the cloud and can be passed on quickly and easily.

Extension Modules

Our development team is constantly working on new modules to make robot programming as easy and convenient as possible. The “Force” module currently enables the automation of demanding assembly work with the aid of a force sensor and force-controlled movements. “Object Localization” helps to determine the exact position of objects in the workspace using cameras and computer vision algorithms.