ABB COBOT Design Integration for Ergonomic Situation


Our client needed to solve an ergonomic situation detected after analysis was done to one of its machines. The results indicated that there was a high risk to damage the operator lower back area, as well as mid risk related to shoulders after long time exposure working the machine. The client needed a simple solution capable of being implemented fast, efficient and contemporary to the technology being used on site.

Our Client: Pharmaceutical Industry in Puerto Rico


A Yumi 14000 robot from the company ABB was used. This robot is classified as a Collaborative Robot (COBOT), capable to assist people in their daily tasks without the associated risks that a regular robot has. The requirements for this Cobot were as follows:

  • Able to handle 5 vial formats
  • No PLC used
  • Able to inspect and take decisions based on the results
  • Able to handle rejects and pass inspections
  • Able to work efficiently with One-Way communication
  • Able to alert unusual events (Alarms)
  • No HMI used

The Challenges

The implementation schedule was about four months. This time included familiarization with the system, design, programming, integration and debugging. The One-Way communication was a “MUST”, since the machine was already validated, and no change could be done to its validated state. This type of communication implied that the machine was able to send signals to the COBOT using signal duplication, but the COBOT was not allowed to communicate with the machine.

The use of PLC and HMI was not approved due to time constrict. The entire implementation was required to be done within the Cobot’s controller.


Familiarization with the Cobot’s programming language was the first step. ABB COBOTS use their own proprietary language known as RAPID, which is a “Structure Text” based language.

COBOTS also uses a lighter version of InSight (Cognex), which was essential to implement the inspection requirements. The Cognex cameras were located on the COBOTS wrists and had to be programed alongside the RAPID program.

Learning the structure and basics of these two programs was the beginning. Basic tests and mockups were required to prove concepts and different placement positions.

3D printed multipurpose grippers were designed as well as reversible trays capable to hold different vials without the need of change parts.

Our Solutions

COBOT was programmed and implemented successfully following the client requirements. The COBOT was capable to work five different recipes without the need of change parts, no PLC, no HMI, and only using the One-Way communication method.

COBOT used a simple interface composed of five push buttons: Start, Stop, Reset, PP to Main and E.Stop. Recipes could be loaded using a 5-position dial switch. For the alarm’s indicators, a stack light was used, and a color code manual was elaborated to let the operator know which alarm and how to solve it.


A Yumi 14000 from ABB was used for the implementation of this project. Other Components such as push buttons, selective dials, stack lights, were used. Integrated Cognex cameras on the COBOTS wrists were also used.

Successful Results For The Client

The ergonomic risk was successfully eliminated with the integration of this COBOTS. It was the first COBOT in this pharmaceutical to be fully implemented. This opened a window to implement more of these COBOTS around the packaging building.


  • Valuable knowledge on ABB programing
  • Solid Works design experience
  • and implementation experience

*Note: The images used in this case study do not correspond to the project, but to a video of the ABB company.

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