Control Software for Industrial Robotics

  • Build complete industrial robotic systems directly from LabVIEW
  • Integrate measurements and vision into robotic systems
  • Easily develop vision-guided robotic applications
  • No need to learn specialized robotic software

Because they can speed up production and lower labor costs, industrial robots are common in high-volume production environments that require fixed, repetitive actions such as those found in CNC and welding machine applications. In these applications, a robot’s movements do not change; they "blindly" cut metal or weld parts at the same locations over and over again.

Today robots are expanding into new types of part handling and pick-and-place applications that require flexible, precision, and delicate part handling. In what was once the domain of in-house experts, industrial robots have matured to the point where they can be programmed by domain experts in test, research, and automation.

These new types of applications cannot be addressed with the fixed, repetitive motions common in large-scale production environments because of the following reasons:

- Flexible manufacturing environments require robots to adjust to new components and procedures every time production changes to a new part.
- Precision assembly requires robots to locate, handle, and place tiny components in the correct location.
- Delicate part handling requires robots to locate and meticulously handle items so they are not damaged or tainted.

In other words, these applications need smarter robots that can interact with their environments through measurements and vision. The NI LabVIEW graphical system design platform is enabling new applications for industrial robots by integrating measurements, vision, robot control, and human machine interfaces (HMIs) into one, easy-to-use environment. With LabVIEW, you can make your robotic system smarter without the need for complex robotics programming expertise. For example, NIRo, a demonstration platform built by engineers at National Instruments, is a small unmanned ground vehicle that uses off-the-shelf components purchased from a local hobby store. The control system is implemented on an NI Single-Board RIO embedded platform that includes an integrated field-programmable gate array (FPGA) and real-time processor.