Accessible Automation: ABB’s OmniVance Machining Cell and Software

July 08, 2022 by Seth Price

ABB’s new OmniVance Machining Cell and Machining Software drastically reduce setup and reconfiguration time through auto calibration and path tuning advances, making automation more intuitive than ever. 

ABB has announced the release of their newest machining cells—the OmniVance, which ABB claims takes up to 92% less time in installation than other similar machining cells on the market. The OmniVance features some major software upgrades to enhance the ease of installation and deployment in the industrial environment. These machining cells will see use in sanding, grinding, polishing, cutting, and other surface finishing operations. Each cell is capable of eight operations by simply changing the end effector. 


The OmniVance Machining Cell

The OmniVance Machining Cell is delivered to manufacturers 90% constructed and can be used in sanding, grinding, polishing, cutting, and other surface finishing operations. Image courtesy of ABB


OmniVance Machining Cells

The OmniVance Machining Cell has been developed with much of the “pre-engineering” in place, meaning the installation efforts consist of customizing the robot for use, including training and arm attachments, rather than physical construction of the machining cell. In fact, upon arrival, 90% of the cell is already constructed.

During the development of the OmniVance system, real-life stress test data from 2400 cells were analyzed, looking for what could be improved in this newest system. The end result: machining cells that can run unsupervised up to 20,000 hours in harsh environments with little maintenance. 

Included in the machining cell are the popular and versatile IRB 2600 robot, a controller, and a turntable with pressure and level sensors. All components arrive pretested and partially assembled for increased speed of deployment. The system is designed to work with the OmniVance Machining Software, which has several time-saving special features.


Machining Software Special Features

At first glance, this system looks like an easy-to-install machining cell, which it is. What sets the OmniVance apart from similar systems is the capabilities within the machining software. The two key features are auto calibration and path tuning.


ABB's OmniVance Machine Software

ABB’s OmniVance Machining Software utilizes auto calibration, path tuning, and drag-and–drop programming to simplify the machining cell process and cut back on setup and reconfiguration time. Image courtesy of ABB


Auto Calibration

The OmniVance Machining Software has advanced auto calibration routines. The purpose of these is to reduce the downtime between retooling options. ABB says that calibration between tool changes is reduced from four hours to ten minutes using these routines.


Path Tuning

Integrating path tuning is standard in this software package. The purpose of this feature is to quickly modify machine tooling paths without having to manually reassign thousands of waypoints along the way. ABB estimates the time savings here are most realized on products with fine surface finishes, such as aluminum wheels and cell phone cases. The process of changing thousands of points is a half-day affair instead of multiple days. This means design changes or product stream changes can be quickly switched as demand changes.


Drag-and-Drop Programming

Instead of spending hours pouring over lines of code or obscure interfaces, the machining software includes drag-and-drop operations. This means the non-programmer can quickly build routines to operate and monitor machining cells. Furthermore, this drag and drop feature can be used between machining cells, which means the same operations can be deployed on bays of machining cells, making them virtually identical. By doing so, there is a much smaller chance of an operator error in copying instructions between machines, simplifying troubleshooting operations.


Leading Automation

ABB has been an industry leader in automation since its formation in 1988. Their equipment is found in virtually all manufacturing sectors, including metallurgy, automotive, life sciences, rail, shipping, and many others. The OmniVance line of machining cells is the latest addition to their extensive catalog of automation solutions.