MCAD Tech News (#236)

19 Mar, 2008

Integrating Industrial Robotics with CAD

The market is taking small steps toward a more seamless solution for developing these reprogrammable devices.

By Jeffrey Rowe

Jeffrey Rowe photoRobotics -- building reprogrammable devices to perform a variety of tasks -- is an expanding, seemingly limitless field. Its popularity extends to everything from kids' toys such as LEGO Mindstorms and the VEXplorer, to robotics competitions such as FIRST for students, to industrial robots from companies such as FANUC and ABB -- just to name a few. These applications obviously span several levels of complexity; nonetheless, they share several things in common because all are mechatronic in nature and involve several other types of interoperable subsystems, including electronics, sensors, controllers, and software.

In this edition of MCAD Tech News, I'll delve into the world of industrial robots used for manufacturing processes and their relationship to the computer-aided design (CAD) process.

Robotics Basics
The advantages of industrial robots are well known. These robots can produce highly precise, repeatable, consistent work; increase throughput speeds; and perform in hazardous environments. What you don't hear so often are some of the potential drawbacks of industrial robots, including the initial investment and ongoing maintenance costs; extensive training required for employees who program and operate the robots; and the careful planning required to actually improve productivity and quality. Simply installing robots does not guarantee success! Examining and understanding how CAD fits into the automated process is a vital part of implementing industrial robots and ensuring success.  Read more »

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Cadalyst contributing editor Jeffrey Rowe is the principal of Cairowest Group, an independent industrial design, mechanical engineering, and technical communication consulting firm with offices in Colorado and Michigan. You can reach him by e-mail at or by phone at 719.221.1867.


Create Your Own AutoCAD Commands

By Lynn Allen

Sitting on a plane on my way to a presentation on "60 AutoCAD Tips in 60 Minutes," I found myself once again focused on the topic of customization. We all have different likes and dislikes -- things we love about AutoCAD and things we loathe. Above all, I believe it is important to learn to customize your AutoCAD environment to suit your particular needs. You don't have to be Einstein to customize AutoCAD. You just have to find some spare time. (For some of us, it would be easier to become Einstein.) Read more »


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events

Using the Functionality of AutoCAD MEP
April 3, 2008
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
At this lecture-style event, Autodesk trainer Jim Law will show why users should make the move from AutoCAD to AutoCAD MEP. Using "intelligent" objects, users assemble systems in their drawings exactly as they would be installed during construction. Sponsored by Synergis. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on


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Announcing Cadalyst Tips & Tricks Tuesdays
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