10 Essential Robot Simulation Features: A Deep Dive Into the Power of RoboDK

In robotics, simulation plays a vital role in optimizing the efficiency of your robot programs and reducing potential errors. But how do you select the right features for your specific application?

There are many features that you could use in a robot simulator. Complex physics simulation, advanced camera modeling, artificial intelligent planning… the list keeps growing as the technologies advance.

It’s always a good idea to prioritize simplicity and functionality. If a particular simulation feature is unnecessary to create your robot program, it will only hold you back from creating an efficient solution.

RoboDK has a vast range of possible features that you can use in your simulations.

Here’s a look at what they are and how you can use them…

The Need for Simplicity

When it comes to offline programming and simulation, complexity is your enemy.

If your robot simulation is filled with unnecessary elements, it will be slower to run and more likely to create problems later on. Remember that you are not trying to create a highly realistic simulation of the robot and its environment. Your aim is to create a robust robot program that achieves your production goals.

As we’ve said previously… your robot simulation doesn’t need wallpaper.

Some features are usually unnecessary in robot simulation such as some advanced physics simulations, complex lighting, and high-definition visual rendering. While these can add realism and aesthetic appeal to your simulation, they don’t help you make a more reliable robotic system.

10 Powerful Simulation Features in RoboDK

Keeping in mind the need for simplicity, what features are useful in a robot simulator?

RoboDK contains many powerful simulation features. Not all of them will be suitable for your specific application. But, used in the right way, they can improve your simulation significantly.

Here are 10 features that you can find in RoboDK:

1. Calibration With the Real World

For industrial robotics, a simulation is only useful if you can use it to program your real world robot. This means you need to be able to quickly and accurately calibrate the robot to the real world coordinate.

There is a range of calibration options for RoboDK. One is our product RoboDK TwinTool that allows you to calibrate your robot tools with an automated calibration procedure and an off-the-shelf sensor.

2. Reliable Inverse Kinematics

The inverse kinematics of a robot is the algorithm that converts your desired tool position to the robot’s joint positions. It is a vital part of any robot simulation.

RoboDK includes inverse kinematics for all our supported robots. You can customize your inverse kinematic solution to suit your specific needs.

3. Application-Specific Programming Tools

Some applications are just easier to perform when they are supported by application-specific tools. RoboDK has some powerful tools for a range of common applications.

Our WeaveGenerator is one such tool, giving you the functionality to quickly add weave patterns to your robotic welding task.

4. CAD/CAM Integration

Your chosen robot simulator will make your life significantly more useful when it seamlessly integrates with your existing software. In many robot applications, this means integrating with your chosen CAD/CAM program.

We often add support for new CAD/CAM integrations such as our recent addition of the BobCAD-CAM Plugin.

5. Collision-Free Planning

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a growing technology in many industries right now, and robotics is no different.

One useful AI feature in robot simulation is collision-free planning. This feature in RoboDK allows you to automatically generate a collision-free path for your robot between two chosen points in your workplace.

6. Gravity When Needed

Gravity simulation is not always necessary in robot simulation and sometimes can be an unnecessary complication. However, it is a requirement in some situations.

RoboDK now includes a Gravity Plugin that enables you to activate a simple form of gravity if your application needs it.

7. Real-Time Capabilities

While most users of RoboDK use it to program their robots offline in a simulation, the software also supports real time control of robots.

Our real-time plugin allows you to add this capability to your program and control your physical robot within the software itself.

8. High Speed for Complex Projects

The bigger and more complex your simulation, the slower it is to run. This can make complex projects very slow.

We have recently made improvements to RoboDK that double the speed of simulation for complex projects. This includes support for textures and GPU-accelerated rendering.

9. Realistic Camera Simulation

Graphical realism is usually not the most important functionality in robotic simulations. However, it can be more important when you are using robotic vision.

RoboDK includes several features to make your simulated cameras more realistic. This helps you to test vision functionality in simulations before testing on the real robotic system.

10. Extensive Robot Support

The final feature that really helps your programming productivity is when your chosen simulator supports a wide range of robot models.

RoboDK includes support for over 1000 robot models from over 70 different robot brands. In our extensive Robot Library includes support for various robot brands, including Omron, Techman, Fanuc, KUKA, Universal Robots, and many more.

Choosing the Right Simulator

Haven’t decided which robot simulator you will use?

How can you select the right one for your needs?

It’s important to find a simulator that makes your life easier when programming your robot rather than introducing unnecessary difficulties.

There are various steps you can take when comparing different simulators for your needs. These include evaluating your business requirements, focusing on your specific application needs, and seeking the assistance of a supportive community.

Learn about the whole process of finding a solution in our article How to Choose a Robot Simulator.

3D Simulator Software

RoboDK: A Reliable Choice

With its wide array of features and capabilities, RoboDK stands out as a reliable and widely trusted robot simulation platform.

Many people in your situation are already using RoboDK for a diverse range of applications and industries.

With native support for hundreds of robot models and brands, RoboDK offers an impressive selection of simulation features to make your robot deployment as easy as possible.

What simulation features do you most need in a robot simulator? Tell us in the comments below or join the discussion on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or in the RoboDK Forum.. Also, check out our extensive video collection and subscribe to the RoboDK YouTube Channel

About Alex Owen-Hill

Alex Owen-Hill is a freelance writer and public speaker who blogs about a large range of topics, including science, presentation skills at CreateClarifyArticulate.com, storytelling and (of course) robotics. He completed a PhD in Telerobotics from Universidad Politecnica de Madrid as part of the PURESAFE project, in collaboration with CERN. As a recovering academic, he maintains a firm foot in the robotics world by blogging about industrial robotics.

View all posts by Alex Owen-Hill