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Zero Programming boosts the efficiency of industrial robots

Developments in the field of robotics and the full automation of production processes in industry are progressing rapidly. However, programming the robots is still a time-consuming process. The associated waiting time is at the expense of productivity, which costs money. Zero Programming solves this problem.

Reinforcing competitive position

The manufacturing industry in the Netherlands makes a major contribution to the country’s employment and the economy. The high-tech equipment industry, where suppliers are engaged in low volume, high mix and high complexity, accounts for a large proportion of Dutch exports. In order to be able to compete sustainably with low-wage countries, flexible manufacturing is an important spearhead for the manufacturing industry. When it comes to maximising productivity and minimising costs, Zero Programming is - within flexible manufacturing - a decisive factor in the success of robot manufacturing.

No loss of time

A bottleneck for small series and complex products are programming time and additional waiting time. It is less economically appealing if you have to wait a long time to be able to make only a few items. “With Zero Programming, we generate a robot program directly from product information, such as CAD files and work preparation. The programming and waiting time for each new product is reduced to almost 0. In Zero Programming we use industrial robots so that smaller production runs become particularly interesting. Without any costly loss of time,” says Gregor van Baars, Senior System Engineer at TNO. “The advantage is that we are now converting time into productivity.”

Widely applicable

TNO is developing the recipe to enable zero programming for most types of robots. The available robot technology, control platforms and software are decisive in this respect. In order to cover a wide range of robotic systems and types of processing, the approach and solution must be independent of the specific robot supplier. The same applies to the specific machining process; the solution for programming the robot movement, for example, must be suitable for robotic welding and for the edges of sheet metal material, as well as for the precise application of sealant in complex assemblies.

Further development

In collaboration with our industrial partners we continue to work on the refinement of Zero Programming. It removes a very significant obstacle, bringing the rollout of robotics in flexible manufacturing closer. Ultimately, Zero Programming must be the answer to the ongoing robotisation of various production processes in manufacturing. In order to achieve this, we are gradually increasing the complexity and continuously testing the applicability among different companies.

Zero Programming in your company?

Are you curious about the possibilities that Zero Programming offers you within your company, then contact Sam Helmer.


Sam Helmer MSc

  • Smart Industry
  • Public Private Partnerships
  • High Tech Systems and Materials


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