Phase 3: Simulation
With a detailed system design established, computer based simulation and testing is conducted to optimise it before physical prototyping. This is done as follows.
1. Virtual prototyping
3D modelling tools are used at this stage to replicate the real operating environment of the proposed robotics system on-screen. This helps to determine the effectiveness of the design in terms of health and safety, system fit and operator access at a low cost before significant investment.
2. Motion visualisation
3D models are then utilised for visualising the effectiveness of the robot programs developed previously. In particular, this allows confidence to be gained that the program works effectively and according to the designed process map and expected performance metrics without risk of robot collision.
3. Smart control algorithm tests
When algorithms are coded, confidence needs to be gained to establish that the expected data feeds from sensors and other measurement systems are utilised in a way that provides the expected output consistently. This is gained by firstly modelling these data feeds in their ideal form to verify that the smart control algorithm produces an appropriate signal to adjust robot behaviour and then exploring how this changes when anticipated abnormalities, such as noise and response to external factors, are incorporated into the modelled data feeds. This allows artificial intelligence algorithms to be tuned and validated in the virtual 3D system model using sample process data from the real world.