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Structured Light Scanner Automates Robot Picking

The challenging market that manufacturing is operating in is pushing continuous improvement efforts to automate more, bigger and better. However, the vast chunk of labor time is spent on tedious and repetitive tasks which are still poorly automated. One of the examples of such a repetitive process that has been hard to automate is bin picking.

Regular robots can’t deal with objects randomly lying in a bin/box, and most of them can’t even handle semi-structured objects that are layered on a pallet or in a bin/box. This next frontier of automation has been unlocked in recent years by robots with eyes, and 3D vision in particular.

PICKIT is a 3D vision solution for pick and place robots. PICKIT focuses on the ease of use whether it is the robot tool setups, teaching new parts to pick or easy testing of picking strategies. PICKIT supports 15 brands of robots, both industrial and collaborative.

PICKIT’s HD camera with structured lighting creates noise free images making the process ambient light independent. Structured light is the process of projecting a known pattern – grids or horizontal bars – onto a part surface. These deform when striking surfaces, allowing vision systems to calculate the depth and surface information of the objects in the view.

Machine and Fixture Loading

PICKIT allows for autonomous automated robotic loading, which increases productivity freeing up skilled workers for value-added tasks.

Unlike other systems PICKIT offers the added flexibility by not requiring fixed positions on the buffer table and pre-defined part dimensions. The parts can be scattered on the buffer table, stacked in piles, or picked straight from a box.

Random Part Picking Applications

Part examples include metal cylinders, shock absorbers, bolts, wheels, tires, cylinders engines, stabilizer bar, metal sleeves, connecting rods, connectors, gears, rubber sleeves, camshaft, fasteners.

Application Indicators:

  • Simple 3D shapes: cylindrical or rectangular shapes
  •  Axial symmetric
  • Asymmetric with a pronounced difference (≥20% with respect to the whole surface)
  • Not too small (>20 mm)
  • Highly reflective

Layered Semi-Structured Applications

Part examples include driveshafts, crankshafts, connecting rod, timing cover, engine blocks, steering wheel, clutch, rubber bushing, thermostats, ladder frame.

Application Indicators:

  • Any 3D shape
  • Only one type of the part per layer
  • Thick enough (>5mm)
  • Within camera field of view, or suitable for partial recognition

The advancement of vision based technology in bin picking assures the manufacturing process’s high-quality performance through precise positioning, online monitoring, and real-time coordination. Industry has a lot to benefit from automating bin picking.

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