In Sync: The Benefits of Coordinated Motion

In Short

THG Automation has implemented a new feature in their cobot welding solutions that they believe “will blow their customers’ minds”; the new coordinated motion functionality from Universal Robots (UR). This innovative feature provides precise and synchronized motion between the UR cobot and one or more external axes. Coordinated motion not only optimizes cycle time significantly while adhering to precise toolpaths, it also enables the welding of odd-shaped and cylindrical parts that are difficult to efficiently weld with cobots.

Double digit productivity increase

Based in Indianapolis, IN, THG Automation is a UR partner that develops welding and cutting solutions based on the Universal Robots platform. Working closely with UR, the company has helped develop Coordinated Motion and now implemented it in their solutions. The feature is part of UR’s new MotionPlus software add-on package available to UR’s OEM, UR+ and Certified System Integrator partners. Like THG, these UR partners will now be able to integrate this functionality in their own offerings – a functionality that CEO of THG Automation, Matt Hendey, predicts will “bring double-digit improvements in productivity”:

“Having the cobot sync up with an external axis, timing it within milliseconds, means our customers can now weld parts they normally couldn’t weld efficiently because they’d either have to stop and manually rotate the part, or weld it at two different times. Coordinated Motion will be an industry game changer.”

“We always say; ‘throwing sparks is money’. If our customers can now execute the weld while they’re moving the part without having to constantly start and stop, that’s huge for both productivity and the bottom line.” 

– Matt Hendey, CEO of THG Automation

 

 

 

High Customer Demand

Hendey explains that he has dozens of customers asking for the Coordinated Motion feature.

“There’s a huge demand for it, it’s almost like a buzzword in the industry,” he says, giving some examples of what the capability will enable his customers to do: “If a customer wants to do hard facing on ductwork, they can do that now with complex shapes. Or weld odd-shaped parts such as helix screw shapes, augers, and centrifuges, which would typically have been applications we would have turned down in the past.”

 

 

 

“Coordinated Motion will be a game changer in the industry, and it’s going to bring more customers that normally wouldn’t have used Universal Robot’s platform for welding or cutting into the mix as well.”

– Matt Hendey, CEO of THG Automation

 

 

 

Complex Welding In User-Friendly Interface

In his ‘former life’, the THG Automation CEO worked with coordinated motion in traditional industrial robots. “It was always very difficult to use, sometimes when we added coordinated motion to our customers’ applications, they would end up turning it off because they couldn’t really figure out how to use it,” he says.

A scenario Hendey does not predict will happen on the UR platform. THG Automation has created a ‘URCap’, a software interface on the UR cobot’s own teach pendant, for the Coordinated Motion feature. “This is really the best of both worlds,” says Hendey. “We add an advanced feature that enables our customers to deep-dive into advanced functionalities, but we do it in a very user-friendly setting within the UR programming environment that many of our customers are already very familiar with. I have not seen Coordinated Motion implemented on any other collaborative robots, so having Universal Robots coming out of the gate with this, gives us the opportunity to utilize it, is very exciting.”

Single-axis the stepping stone to multi-axis

Hendey explains how doing single-axis coordinated motion is a good first step for new robotic users. “It gets them a good taste of what it’s like to utilize it, and I think they’re going to love it.” He says, emphasizing how that’s the steppingstone into multi-axis coordinated motion. “Next, we will have tracks and rotational positioners working together with the robot, all at the same time. So, I think their minds will be blown on how useful it is; but it also is something that they can grow into. They don’t have to take on all this new functionality all at once.”

Key value drivers:

Double digit productivity improvement

Complex welding in user-friendly interface

Manual labor freed up for more value-added tasks 

 

Tasks solved by collaborative robots:

Welding and plasma cutting of parts utilizing coordinated motion

 

Automation challenges solved:

Ability to deploy a UR cobot in complex welding and cutting tasks, previously not possible in an efficient manner