Today Siemens introduced to the market new software for robotics called RobotExpert. From available information we know that is limited version of Tecnomatix Process Simulate running without oracle database and is adjusted to requirement of small and medium companies. Is it a successor of Robcad?
Robotics software market
At the beginning let have a look for the situation on the robotics software market. We’ve got here software provided by robot manufacturers (Kuka, Abb, Fanuc). Each of these programs allows programming only one kind of robot. They have built-in virtual teach pendants which looks exactly the same like real ones. It makes programming easier for on-line programmers. Additional modules allows for easy creating paths for painting, handling or arc welding.
On market are available also universal applications created in early 90 in XX century. Actually there are two of them: IGRIP and Robcad. The first is at the end of his days, GM is last big company which uses it. Robcad has still a lot of users in automotive companies and is primary tool for many of them. Geeky UNIX interface has a lot of fans and functions ranges are wide. Both programs can simulate robots from different vendors in the same time.
Progress in IT forced creates modern versions of IGRIP and Robcad. In this way come to existence Delmia and Process Simulate.
Siemens PLM Software
At this moment Siemens has two applications: Robcad and Process Simulate. Robcad has plenty of useful functions and is easy for installation and management. Process Simulate is a powerful tool which allows for team work, simulations of whole lines, not only single cells. Additional value is Virtual commissioning which allow connect real PLC and control virtual robots in the same way like real ones. With all this unique features process Simulate still hasn’t whole functions of Robcad, but with every release differences are smaller. I have to mention about prices. If Robcad is expensive, then process simulate is horrible expensive. It is caused partly by price of Oracle database which is required.
RobotExpert – for small and medium companies
So Siemens has two applications for advanced users. Robcad – difficult in use but easy in management and installation and easy to use PS which requires a lot of knowledge about data management. After few years Robcad will die and Siemens remain with expensive tool for big companies. To avoid this situation Siemens created RobotExpert – software for small and medium companies which put together intuitive interface of PS with simplicity of installation from Robcad.
To avoid cannibalization Siemens decided to remove spot welding feature. Without this program is useless for automotive companies and cannot be treat as Robcad successor. Also paint applications are still not implemented. Siemens removed virtual commissioning (event based simulation) so it is impossible to connect PLC to RobotExpert.
It is obvious that Siemens aimed to Roboguide, RobotStudio and PC-Roset Software. Software from robot vendors is quite cheap according to Siemens PLM products and cover whole range of applications. Robot expert is for companies which uses robots of different brands. It is good tool for integrators. They receive one universal tool for different robots. Interface from Process Simulate allows in the future easy switch to more advanced tool. Does RobotExpert with itself limitations (lack of spot welding, paint applications) archive success? In my opinion yes, but much depends from price.