The integration of 3D simulation software and cobots (collaborative robots) will revolutionise manufacturing in the UK. They address key challenges like labour shortages, productivity levels and improving quality faced by engineers in optimising their production lines.
Recent developments by Mitsubishi Electric, with European partner Visual Components underscore significant advantages of these technologies in enhancing manufacturing efficiency.
Advanced 3D simulation software for efficient planning
ME Industrial Simulation Software Corporation, is a joint venture between the two companies for developing 3D simulators for manufacturing applications. The constructive collaboration of Mitsubishi’s control technology and manufacturing expertise with Visual Components’ 3D software allows for the creation of digital twins of production lines. This technology enables manufacturers to design, test, and optimise production setups virtually, reducing the time and cost associated with physical setups.
Streamlined robot programming
Moreover, the use of 3D simulation software addresses the significant challenge of time-consuming manual programming of robots. According to Visual Components’ research, over half of UK manufacturers face delays due to manual robot programming. 3D simulation allows offline robot programming that not only speeds up the deployment of robots but also enhances their usage. This leads to faster product production and reduces the downtime typically associated with manual programming.
Simplifying complex robot systems
Many producers struggle with the complexity of operating multiple robot brands. The 3D simulation software simplifies this by offering a unified platform for designing and simulating various robotic systems. This streamlines the programming procedures and reduces the time taken for robots to become operational.
Despite the advantages of cobots in achieving consistent production rates and alleviating laborious tasks from humans, their uptake has been slow due to programming challenges. The advanced simulation software alleviates these concerns. It does so by enabling effective and efficient programming of cobots, thereby encouraging their wider adoption in the manufacturing sector.
Enhanced production strategy and optimisation
The 3D simulation tools offer capabilities such as capacity estimates, bottleneck analysis, and buffer size optimisation. It also allows engineers to study and implement the most efficient production strategies, ensuring optimal use of resources and time.
By enabling earlier deployment and optimal use of robotic systems, these technological advancements contribute significantly to increasing productivity and output in manufacturing processes. Above all, this is crucial in a competitive market where rapid production and high efficiency are key to business success.
Integrating cobots and 3D software for enhanced manufacturing
The integration of cobots and 3D simulation software in the manufacturing sector in the UK presents a transformative opportunity for businesses. It addresses critical challenges such as manual robot programming, complex systems management, and suboptimal utilisation rates.
By adopting these technologies, manufacturers can significantly enhance their operational efficiency, reduce costs, and stay competitive in the global market. This advancement not only benefits the manufacturing sector but also sets a precedent for other industries to follow in the realm of digital transformation and smart manufacturing solutions.
Yet, according to Mikko Urho, CEO of Visual Components, this is not purely about robots and cobots. “For companies aiming to optimise the entire product lifecycle, 3D simulation in combination with manufacturing expertise essential. Through this synergy, we will accelerate the accomplishment of digital manufacturing and contribute to enhancing our customers’ competitiveness.”
For example, Mitsubishi’s MELSOFT Gemini 3D simulator released last year provides a digital twin platform that uses 3D technology to create virtual production lines and facilities in digital spaces, allowing customers to reduce design, equipment and line setup workloads as well as lower the total cost of ownership in their engineering chains.