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ABB Takes Robotic Laser Cutting to the Next Level
RobotStudio Cutting PowerPac and RobotWare Cutting greatly increase path accuracy and programming flexibility
By Robotics Trends' News Sources - Filed Dec 05, 2012

More Industry and Manufacturing stories
ABB has introduced two new, seamlessly integrated laser cutting software products that make laser cutting with ABB robots more accurate, highly flexible, and easier to program and operate. The new RobotStudio Cutting PowerPac is an add-on to RobotStudio, ABB’s 3D offline simulation programming tool, which allows operators to generate and modify program cutting paths based on part geometry and CAD models.  The second new software, RobotWare Cutting, is a robot controller add-on that features sophisticated tools for the integration of peripheral equipment, robot tuning and calibration, and the programming of complex paths and shapes.

Laser cutting has emerged as the optimal means to cut and trim hot stamped steel, the light weight, high strength materials increasingly used in the automotive industry to reduce the overall cost and weight of cars while improving both passenger safety and fuel economy.  The technology is also increasingly used to cut many hydro-formed, electronic and plastic parts in a variety of industries.

Laser cutting is a non-contact process, so the laser equipment does not wear and no trim presses or trim dies are required. The process is highly precise, and trim lines and feature sizes and locations can be easily adjusted to handle a wide variety of parts.  Robotic laser cutting offers several advantages over traditional 5-axis laser cutting machines, including up to a 35% lower initial investment, reduced operational costs, and a smaller footprint that allows easier integration into existing manufacturing systems.

“The Cutting PowerPac takes robotic laser cutting to the next level, greatly simplifying the programming of parts all shapes, even those requiring the most complex paths,” said Erwin DiMalanta, senior manager, ABB Robotics.  “And users can create and test advanced cutting programs offline, in an office environment, maximizing production uptime and resource efficiency.”

The Cutting PowerPac supports the optimization of cutting programs, setup of interface signals and management of cutting process data.  RobotWare Cutting is compatible with most common laser cutting equipment brands, and its intuitive graphical user interface makes it easy to use. The interface provides the flexibility to switch automatically and quickly between different product series allowing even the shortest cutting runs to be efficient and of the highest quality.

“RobotWare Cutting also features an advanced Iterative Learning Control (ILC) algorithm that allows the robot to essentially learn by doing, where it continually improves its cutting performance and accuracy over time,” added DiMalanta.

Users of ABB Robotics' laser cutting systems also have to all the benefits of ABB’s Remote Service, a system which provides remote access to the system for production monitoring, fast diagnostics and predictive maintenance.

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