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Programming a Machine Tending application in four easy steps

November 16, 2021 | Patrick Tawagi

Programming a Machine Tending application in four easy steps

When automating your shop floor, it can be hard to know where to start. We recommend you begin by examining your most repetitive and structured tasks. For example, replacing a basic pick-and-place operation with a robotic machine tending cell is one of the first operations you could consider automating in a production environment.

Machine tending is the process of picking parts or “blanks” and feeding them into a machine one by one for processing, then removing the processed part and placing it in an outfeed or finished part area. Suitable types of machine processes include CNC milling, ultrasonic welding, and injection molding.

Once you’ve identified the first operation to automate, the next step is to build your program. If you’re looking for quicker and simpler deployment, Vention has just released a first-of-its-kind robot programming tool, which combines design, configuration, path programming, and deployment. This new module enhances MachineLogic’s code-free programming environment, allowing you to go from the cloud to the factory floor in a single digital environment.

If you’re looking for a quicker and simpler deployment, in the comparison table below, you’ll see that deploying a robot with Vention takes 60% less time compared to a traditional deployment method:


Vention MachineLogic

Estimated time reduction
Design 3D model in CAD tool. Design 3D model in MachineBuilder. 40%
Export/import CAD models from design tool and import it to robot programming tool. - 100%
Create robot paths and/or waypoints in the programming tool. Create robot paths and/or waypoints using code-free MachineLogic directly in the MachineBuilder. 82%
Upload program onto robot. Upload program onto robot. -
Teach all waypoints on the robot. Teach only the necessary calibration waypoints on the robot, using Vention’s Digital Reference Tool. 63%
Iterate program directly on the robot based on what you learn in the field. Iterate program directly on the robot based on what you learn in the field. -
Start production. Start production. -
Total: 60%

Below, we’ll deep-dive into the four steps you need to follow to get up and running in no time. We’ll assume you’ve already created your machine tending cell layout (or select one from our Public Designs library) and that you’ve added the application to your design and are ready to enter the step-by-step instructions.

Step 1: Create an array

An array produces a robot path such that the robot will go through each point in a matrix grid but without requiring you to teach all the individual points. You just have to define the array type, the number of rows and columns, and the spacing between them. You might want to create multiple arrays if you have several drawers or multiple zones in your design.

Create an array

Step 2: Add robot path

Robot paths are the short custom paths that define the approach and retract sequence for each of the array points, as well as the drop-off location for parts to be machined. Since the robot cell is already modeled in MachineBuilder, you can simply snap the points onto existing design features!

Add robot path

Step 3: Create tray open position

If your robot needs to open any drawers, define where the robot should grab the drawer or tray handle for each array.

Create tray open position

Step 4: Review and customize

At this stage, you can review all the info you’ve entered before generating your robot program. This program contains the entire sequence for picking parts at each array location, opening and closing drawers, and placing parts in the machine. To further customize it, you can inject regular MachineLogic commands from the Visual Sequence Editor.

Review and customize

More info

And that’s all it takes to create your first simple machine tending program! For more information on how to program a Machine Tending application, check out these resources:

Resource URL
Robot Programming in MachineLogic
About Machine Tending
Blog Post: How to program a robot with robot path planning
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