Robot Policies

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Robotic Manipulator Policies



The Robotic Manipulators are for the explicit use of Princeton University School of Architecture students. Individuals who would like to use the machine must first complete the tutorial process and sign the document below.

The robotic manipulators in questions are as follows:

-An ABB IRB7600 M2000, which has a max reach of 2.55 meters (without tooling) and a max payload of 400 kg. It is a 6 Axis Manipulator.

-Two ABB IRB6400 Mounted on IRBT 6700s, which have a max reach of 2.05 meters (without tooling), a track motion of 3.4 meters, and a max payload of 60 kg. They are both 7 Axis Manipulators, which are programmed to operate together.

-Two ABB IRB120s, which have a max reach of .588 meters and a max payload of 3 kg. They are both 6 Axis Manipulators.

-Three UR3s, which have a max reach of .5 meters and a max payload of 3 kg.


In order to gain access to the robots, graduate students must demonstrate adequate knowledge of the manipulator, its safe startup, operation and shutdown procedures, and the process of generating, simulating, and executing robot code. This experience is gained through independent projects or courses which utilize the robot, under the combined supervision of the lab staff, or specific architectural faculty members. Access is granted at the discretion of these individuals following a clear demonstration of safe practices and familiarity with the equipment. The students need to read this document and acknowledge it by signing a copy which is kept on file by the lab staff in the SOA. In addition all students who want to gain access need to go through the EHS online machine shop orientation before operation. Undergraduate students are not allowed to have access granted and must be supervised at all times by a trained faculty, staff member, or graduate student that has been trained and designated as a Shop Monitor.


It is required that any new project which utilizes the manipulator is discussed with the lab staff prior to execution. This will allow for advice on potentially unforeseen issues such as machine limitations, material concerns and scheduling. No new end of arm tool may be added to the robot without lab staff approval. Additional safety precautions may be added based on the projects.


Robotic programming requires additional steps not generally found in other CNC type operations. Due to the highly flexible nature of the tool and the projects associated with it, there is no single workflow which can describe all possible applications. Generally, 3D geometry is used to generate toolpaths from CAD interfaces such as Rhino, with the help of scripts and/or plugins (such as Robots for Grasshopper). Occasionally, a specific application might require a custom script or communication protocol developed in another environment. In such cases, it is important to discuss the approach with the qualified coordinators.

For the purpose of verifying code prior to execution, ABB has provided the school with the RobotStudio software, which allows for the virtual, offline simulation of the programmed movements. In order to avoid potential code or syntax errors, collisions or singularities, it is essential that any program is simulated in the virtual environment prior to execution on the robot. Following simulation, the code can be transferred to the robot controller via USB thumb drive as a .PRG file.


In order to fully understand potential dangers, it is important that all certified users be familiar with the operating, product, and programming manuals of the robot and controller and follow the University shop policies.

The robot is equipped with two modes of operation, which can be selected with the use of a keyed switch. Prior to running any file at full speed, a dry run must be executed in manual mode. This allows the operator to test for tolerance, kinematic, and collision issues.

Even while operating in manual mode, it is important to be aware of the robot at all times, and to avoid any possible “pinch points” by staying clear of the robot’s reach envelope and in areas with fast and safe egress. Note that the indicated reach area is not entirely static: long tools can easily expand the reach envelope of the robot, and can move especially fast. Poorly attached tools can also quickly become projectiles if released during motion. When developing custom tooling, be aware of these potential dangers and consult with a coordinator in order to determine the safest operating procedure. Automatic mode will only be used after a dry run has been executed, and with the direct confirmation by an appropriate supervisor. When the machine is switched to automatic mode, all necessary safety precautions must be met in accordance with the specific tool being used. No person should be within working range of the robot.

The robot is equipped with two “Emergency Stop” buttons, which cease movement when depressed. There is one located on the controller and another on the operator’s “TeachPendant.” Observe the locations of these buttons and ensure that they are accessible at all times.

The manipulator is equipped with a yellow “motors on” light, which adds another indication of potential danger. The light will be on if the “enabling device” is depressed in manual mode, or if the motors are activated in the other modes.

As with all university shop facilities, the “buddy system” should be observed at all times. By not working alone, potentially dangerous errors, accidents and injury are more likely to be avoided.




Robot Use Agreement form can be found HERE and must be signed after proper training has been issued.