VGR Pick and Place and Production Ergonomics
Vision-guided robotics (VGR) technology is increasing production while reducing costs in industries across the board. Exciting new developments in technologies such as 3D machine vision and deep learning have opened the door to flexible automation to accelerate production and ease the ergonomic burden on the human production team.
More often than not, modern production lines have certain processes which are infamous among the line team members. These jobs involve intense pick and place procedures which require excessive lifting, bending, and twisting, all tediously repetitive and at high production speeds.
When a pick and place station is so stress-inducing that even the most proficient workers need to be rotated after 10 or 15 minutes to avoid fatigue, a strategically placed vision-guided robot can be the solution for an ergonomic nightmare. They excel in extreme temperature environments and VGR applications enable continuous high-speed production runs without the need for rest breaks or interruptions for workstation rotations.
Sorting Through Production Line Anomalies With Machine Vision
Until now dealing with product variations on the line required human vision and judgment for differentiation in shape, size, color, and texture for even limited-capacity sorting and packaging. Modern production speeds push human capabilities to the limit reaching 150 parts per minute or more, with conveyors frequently humming along at a challenging pace of 30 inches per second.
Robots found a welcome place on these high-speed lines but anomalies such as orientation on the belt made sorting jobs more difficult for robotic arms. Even changes to ambient lighting could cause problems. Introduction of new products and assemblies caused unproductive downtime when extensive reconfiguration was required.
Today’s advanced 3D machine vision technology combines industrial grade smart cameras with advanced pattern location processing which allows robots to identify and select products based on their distinct size, shape, and design regardless of their orientation when the part is presented. Faster processing speeds keep the robot ahead of the identification process. This opens the door to a variety of VGR applications including:
- conveyor loading and unloading
- handling of nested parts from trays or boxes
- placement, assembly, verification and packaging
- bin picking of random parts
- palletizing and depalletizing
- racking and de-racking
Needless to say, versatility is the key to covering such a diverse range of production functions. To meet these demands Integro teamed with Universal Robotics to provide a highly flexible work cell with minimum software configuration requirements.
One of the most demanding and useful applications for robots is random bin picking. Integro combined a Universal Robot with 3D CAD vision import capability. The UR3 robotic arm is paired with a SICK 3D Sweeping Laser Topography system which is trained to locate and pick parts via the 3D CAD import function. End of arm tooling (EOAT) input allows the software to account for mechanical restrictions during picking operations. The combination results in collaborative UR3 robot arms suitable for seamlessly adding new products or assemblies.
Machine Vision Innovation at Integro Technologies
We are a leading machine vision integrator with over 2,000 installations and over 1,000 clients worldwide. High-speed robotic pick and place technology is just one of the machine vision innovations we provide to meet high-capacity production demands in the competitive world of Industrial 4.0. We work with manufacturers in industries including food and beverage, pharma and medical, and automotive and aerospace to provide machine vision solutions for inspection and quality control, full part handling, and data archiving and traceability.
Integro Technologies was named the 2017 System Integrator of the Year by Control Engineering Magazine. The award recognized our expertise for seamless machine vision integration in collaboration with industry leaders such as Cognex, Universal Robotics, Yamaha, Mitsubishi Electric, SICK, ifmEfector, and Coherix. Our engineers work one-on-one with manufacturing clients and our product development process ensures that the proper vision platform is selected to match a company’s exact manufacturing needs so don’t hesitate to contact us.