Getting Started

Welcome

This document describes how to first connect the Actin UR Coprocessor to you UR robot and run some basic motion tests. You should have received your Actin UR Coprocessor, and industrial PC that comes pre-installed with Actin UR software components and is ready to connect to your UR robot.

It is assumed that you are familiar with opening a terminal window (bash shell) and entering in basic unix console commands.

The following components (software and hardware) are included with ActinUR

Actin RCF : (Robot Control Framework) Software that runs on the Actin Coprocessor hardware and controls the interface to your UR Robot (UR=Universal Robots). It also is used to interface to external devices (actuators, sensors, safety systems)

Actin Viz : Software for visualization. This software provides 3D visualization during simulation and live hardware control. It interfaces with ActinRCF either on the same computer (the Coprocessor) or over network connection.

Actin Viewer : This is part of the general ActinSDK, and is used to import CAD models, configure and tune the robot, run simulations, and export the Actin model for ActinRCF.

UR Models : These are Actin 3D models with accurate kinematic models including joint limits and velocity limits for all UR models, both cb3 series and e-series.

Actin Coprocessor : An industrial PC (IPC) with Actin software components pre-installed.

Actin Coprocessor Setup

Your Actin Coprocessor is an industrial PC (IPC) with software pre-installed. This includes the installation of your developer (Devkit) and runtime (RT) licenses. To start, you’ll be using the IPC to test your hardware connection.

Hardware Prep

The IPC runs Ubuntu 18.04 LTS desktop operating system. To use the IPC during setup you’ll need this additional hardware:

  • Display Monitor (1920x1080) with a display port input.
  • Keyboard
  • Mouse
  • Ethernet network cable (Cat 5e or Cat6)
  • Video Cable (either display port, or display port to HDMI - depending on your monitor)

Step 1 Unpack the co-processor. Attach the Wifi antenna(s) to the sides of the IPC. Connect the monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

Step 2 Connect the network cable from the back of the IPC to the UR controller (network port is on the underside of the UR controller box). Use ethernet port 1 (left most when looking at the back of the IPC)

Step 3 Connect the power adapter to the IPC in this order: a) plugin into the power port at the back of the IPC. b) plug the power cord into the wall outlet.

Step 4 The IPC will start-up automatically and boot. You should see a login screen within 30 sec.

Login

The IPC comes with a single user pre-installed. Login using the credentials you received from Energid in your Welcome document.

Once logged in, please change the password for user actin. You should not leave the default password in place.

Next, add your Wifi network connection. This will allow you to reach the IPC from your desktop and also for Energid to connect to the IPC (with your permission) for support.

Network Setup

Your IPC has a hardware test project in the /home/actin/projects folder. This is typically configured for a UR5e robot. But if you indicated your robot type and robot IP address when you purchased Actin UR, it will be configured for your robot.

Open a terminal window.

% cd ~/projects/test-ur5e

List the contents of the file preset.sh

% more preset.sh

You should see a setting for EC_UR_ROBOT_IP. Check that IP address matches the IP address of your robot. If not, edit this file and change the robot IP. (you can use gedit to edit text files) The IP of the robot can be found under the About option on the UR teach-pendant. You may have to configure this for a static IP address.

Ping the robot ip, and check for a response:

% source preset.sh
% ping $EC_UR_ROBOT_IP

You should see responding packets from the UR robot controller. If not, check that your network cable is plugged into the correct port, and check that your ethernet port has a static IP address on the same network segment.

% ip addr

(displays the IP addresses of the IPC)

If you are not able to ping your UR Controller, then please contact support and we’ll help you resolve your network issue. It may involve adding a route for your ethernet port.

Teach-Pendant in Remote Mode

The UR controller comes with a teach-pendant that includes an LCD touch panel display and E-Stop button. This device must be placed in Remote Control mode for E-series robots before Actin UR can connect to the robot. Refer to Univeral Robots documentation for up to date information. Here, we describe how to place the teach-pendant in Remote mode.

  • Select the Local/Remote mode drop down from the top menu bar if it is present. Then click Remote Control. If the option does not appear on the top menu bar, then skip this step and come back after enabling the Remote Control option.

a) If the Remote menu dropdown does not appear in the menu bar, you will have to enable that option (E-Series robots only) Choose Setttings from the hamburger menu at the upper right.

b) In the systems side tab, choose Remote Control, then click the Enable button. To close the panel, click exit. Now you should be able to swtich from Local to Remote mode.

Actin Software Demo Test

The next step is to ensure that the software is working correctly in your environment in simulation before we test the hardware connection to the robot. The IPC has a preloaded demo and a test project.

Open a terminal window, clicking the terminal icon on the desktop sidebar. Type in the following command:

% actin-demo

This command will launch the actin-demo project - located in your actin home folder here: /home/actin/projects/demo. The following software will start:

  • UR Sim (the UR polyscope simulator)
  • Actin RCF (the Actin Robot Control Framework, interfaces to UR Sim)
  • Actin Viz

Wait until the UR Sim has fully launched - it emulates the UR teach pendant and controller. In ActinViz, follow these steps:

  • Select the RCF Connect Panel (1) and then Connect to Actin RCF (2)

  • Select the Robot Connection Panel (1) then Connect to the Robot (2). There are 3 states of connection: CONNECT, POWER, and CONTROL. You must click these in sequence, waiting at each step until the switch turns green.

  • Select the 3D World View. The controls at the bottom are the mode selector (2), the speed slider (3) and the Play, Pause, Stop motion buttons (4).

  • Click and drag the left mouse button over the 3D model to rotate view. Click and drag with the right mouse button to pan. Use the mouse wheel to zoom in and out.

  • Open the script simpleMotion.ecs

  • Select Sim mode

  • Click the play button to run the motion script

In sim mode, you should see the 3D robot model move, but the UR Sim model is not affected.

In Actin Viz click the play button. You should see both the 3D model of the robot and the URSim robot move together. At this point, if you use the jogging controls (up,down,left, right) in URSim, you should see the 3D model moves in sync. Actin RCF tracks the position of the robot in real time and sends it back to Actin Viz for display

If you were able to see the synced behavior between the 3D model and UR Sim while running the simple motion, proceed to the next step. If not - recheck your steps. If you need help, contact us at support (See Getting Help at the end of this doc).

Robot Hardware Test

Once your network is set up correctly, you can proceed to test the ActinUR interface to the UR robot controller. We’ll repeat similar steps to the software tests, but this time we should see the physical robot move in sync with the 3D model display in Actin Viz.

Start the UR Robot

You can do the following steps using the desktop icons we’ve provided or issuing commands from a terminal window:

Start Actin RCF
  • Click the desktop icon for Actin RCF OR In a terminal window
    % cd ~/projects/test-ur5e
    % ./run_rcf.sh

    You should see Actin RCF log entries displayed to the terminal.

Start Actin Viz
  • Click the desktop icon for Actin Viz OR In a terminal window
    % cd ~/projects/test-ur5e
    % ./run_viz.sh

    This will start Actin Viz, ready to connect to Actin RCF.

Test Servo Mode
  • Connect to RCF
  • Connect and power up the robot
  • In the 3D Model view, choose Sim mode
  • Load the simpleMotion.ecs script
  • Click play - only the 3D model will move
  • Once the play has ended, choose Servo mode.
  • Make sure your robot has room to move (clear space around the robot).
  • Click play - the robot and the 3D model should move in sync.
Test Protective Stop
  • Repeat the last section in Servo mode.
  • While the robot is moving, push against one of the links to cause a protective stop.
  • Actin Viz should display a Protective Stop warning message.
  • Click and hold the Clear button to clear the protective stop.
  • Select robot connection panel (bottom icon on the nav bar)
  • The Control button should be off. Click the control button to turn back on.

At this point, the protective stop has been cleared. You’ll notice that it disappears from the tech pendant display as well.

Test Emergency Stop
  • Repeat the previous section in Servo mode.
  • While the robot is moving slowly, push the E-Stop button on the teach-pendant.
  • Actin Viz will be stuck in the Power stage on the robot connection panel.
  • Reset the E-Stop button on the teach-pendant by pulling up.
  • In Actin Viz, on the robot connection panel, turn the power back on, then the control back on. This should clear the E-Stop condition.
Test Freedrive Mode

In this mode, the robot becomes compliant and you can move the robot by applying manual force to the end effector. Actin RCF monitors the state of the robot and will show the movement in the 3D model display.

  • In Actin Viz, select the 3D model display
  • Select Free mode
  • Move the robot by applying manual force to the end effector. It should move freely.
  • Observe that the 3D displayed model moves to show the state of the robot in real time.
  • When done, select Sim mode.

At this point the robot will no longer move freely. Pushing on the robot hard will result in a protective stop.

Starting a New Project

Actin contains a python3 script used to create the folder structure for new projects. This involves selecting the correct base UR model and creating the XML files that describe the Actin RCF system controller and manipulator definition files. It’s simple to use.

In this example, we’ll create a project for the UR10e model robot and call our project ‘test-ur10e’, similar to our other test project.

  • Open a terminal window:
    % cd ~/projects
    % create_project.py UR10e test-ur10e --robot-ip <ip address>

    The script will run and create a folder test-ur10e which contains your project definition for this model robot. Within the project folder, check that the preset.sh file contains your correct robot IP.

Going Further

At this point, your Actin UR system is working, connected to the robot, and able to execution motion scripts in both simulation and servo modes.

You can use Actin UR with either the physical robot or the URSim, just by changing the IP address in your project.

  • For URSim, the IP address is just the local host (127.0.0.1).
  • For your physical robot, the IP address matches that displayed on the teach-pendant.

Make sure that you are using the correct Actin UR robot model for your robot. Using and incorrect model could cause unexpected motion with the physical robot.

Getting Help

If setting up the IPC or resolving network issues is causing you trouble, then please reach out for support (support@energid.com). Your IPC comes with the software AnyDesk pre-installed, which will allow our support group to attach remotely to your IPC and assist you. This can only happen with your permission - our support group cannot connect without your permission for each session.