Wireless Wand Generates Fast Code-Free Robot Programming

German robotics startup Wandelbots has developed a robot programming device that could transform current industrial practices. The Wandelbots platform is a revolutionary tool that makes it possible to train, reprogram and provide data for any robot in the shortest possible time. The interaction of robot, intuitive app and teaching device not only makes programming easier and cheaper, but also more flexible.

TracePen is the world’s first ‘no code’ handheld device that lets non-programmers ‘teach’ robots how to do specific tasks on the manufacturing floor . Wandelbots says TracePen’s teaching method is up to 70 times faster and a fraction of the cost compared to traditional programming methods. Programming and reprogramming robots has historically been costly, time consuming and inflexible, as every device had to be programmed in its proprietary programming language by expert coders. With the TracePen in hand, users can set specific points or move along surfaces.

TracePen makes it possible to teach a robot in a matter of seconds by simply showing it the path to be learned by moving the TracePen. This movement is visualized almost simultaneously in the app by the Wandelbots software and can be further refined by defining individual points (keyframes). The keyframes can be adjusted in the sub-millimeter range via the app. Define whether the robot should move from point-to-point, linear or circular between the defined points. The built-in joint control allows the user to directly control the individual robot joints and even define a safety area by allowing the robot to act. The software converts this direction into automation scripts for robots – regardless of their platform.

According to Martin Wanitschke, chief of staff at Wandelbots, it’s especially important to demystify robot programming in the era of Covid-19, when the need for resilient manufacturing capacity is stronger than ever. “We can see that many manufacturers are planning to bring parts of their outsourced supply chains back under their sovereignty, simply so that geographic boundaries no longer have to be crossed in assembling total products from individual parts,” he says. “And given a labour market that still has a major shortage of experts – which was one of the main reasons for outsourcing process steps – this won’t work without automation technologies.” 

Wandelbots closed a $30 million Series B round led by 83North and joined by M12 and Next47 in June 2020 have previously raised raised $6.76 million in December 2018.

“The complexity, time and cost of (re)programming robots to adapt to changing market requirements has, until now, been hugely prohibitive. The advent of end-user programming has turned the market on its head,” explains Christian Piechnick, founder and CEO of Wandelbots.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the startup has noted a surge in demand from international buyers, who have seen their industrial supply chains collapse and now want to bring home key processes previously done overseas. “As we enter a new era of robotics and automation, Wandelbots is revolutionizing this industry and is playing a leading role in reshaping manufacturing as we know it,” says Gil Goren, who led the investment by 83North.

Founded in 2017, the company employs over 80 people across Europe and Asia. The funding will fuel plans for global expansion and also accelerate time-to-market for TracePen. One of the five initial applications of focus for Wandelbots is robot inspection.

For more information: www.wandelbots.com