Wonderful Engineering

Understanding Robotic Programming

With regards to robotic programming, evolution of technology has revolutionized methods of creating robotic software. In today’s robotic market there are a couple of methods of `entering binary bits in the robot’. Some of these methods may not require preliminary programming.

Nowadays robotic programming is no longer low-level coding as it was back then. It has advanced into more spontaneous procedures in a bid to ease the workload of the technicians who may not always have the knowledge of everything concerning robots. This means that the current industrial robots for sale are very advanced techwise.

That said it should be noted that, not all robot makers are endowed with programming all major tasks. Small and medium scale companies cannot even afford to have a robotics programmer on the payroll. It is for this reason, that understanding the main methods of robotic programming can help them prepare for any robotics technology introduced.

Methods of robotic programming

Teach Pendant

It is the most common programming procedure with over 90% of industrial robots done this way. The premier quality of this procedure is that is the robot being taught positional data. This comes handy as a gadget; teach pendant with controls is used to manually move the robot to the desired location.

This programming procedure has been available for a number of years. Way back teaching pendants were just grey boxes and controls with a magnetic tape but nowadays the pendant even has a screen that may have touch capabilities as well.

Advantages of teach

The teach pendant is capable of adapting to its current user

Ideal for easy motions such as painting in a straight line

Technicians are well versed with it because many robots have this system

This system allows for accurate positioning as the robot can be programmed using numerical coordinates.

The main drawback for this method however is, during programming the robot is set to teach mode and all operations are halted until the procedure is done.

Lead through

With regards to lead through programming the robot is hovered over a task by a manual operator. This procedure was quite famous back then but now is diminishing because large robots have become the norm in the workplace.

This is very challenging to the operator and it increases chances of inaccuracies during programming. It is useful though because once programming had been done it can be played back and the robot completes the autonomously. Ideal for naturally algorithmic tasks.


This procedure involves moving the robot using a joystick attached to the robot or manipulation of a force sensor. The operator stores every point of motion in the computer. This makes it easy for the operator to complete their tasks in time.

Advantages of demonstration

Quicker than conventional teach pendants because operators do not need to control it by using multiple buttons.

Very spontaneous compared to teach pendant. Tasks are programmed in a similar manner to how an individual would execute them

Drawbacks of demonstration

This method is very hands-on with regards to the robot like the teach pendant meaning it does not reduce downtime like offline programming does.

Not ideal for assignments that are naturally algorithmic

Offline programming

Offline programming is widely used in robotics research to ascertain that advance control algorithms are working correctly before proceeding to the actual robot. With programs being created offline it means the robot is only stopped when the program is downloading and running trial tests.

Advantages of offline programming

Reduces downtime for the robot when being programmed

Technicians can try a couple of approaches for similar problems

If the robot rotates in three dimension computer aided design it is very intuitive.

Drawback of offline programming

Time wastage during testing before advancing to the actual robot

The process may overall be more time intensive as a technician has to first come up with the simulation package.


All in all there are various programming methods and the most ideal method is dependent on the task that is to be completed.