Vision technology for collaborative robots

9. June 2017

Robots with a vision

With the increasing interaction between humans and robots in the factory, the collaborative robots (“cobots”) of Universal Robots are now working closely with the SICK Inspector PIM60, enabling more applications.

HESTRA-3

 

In contrast to traditional industrial robots, cobots are flexible, lightweight and user-friendly robots. They are easy to deploy and re-deploy, without the need for programming experience. Cobots are viewed more as an additional arm to the factory floor; an arm that does not get tired. The targeted applications cover, among others: packaging & palletizing, machine tending, pick & place, assembly and quality inspection. The world’s first cobot was launched in 2008 by the Danish company Universal Robots (UR).

 

Cobots lowering the barrier for automation

 

In combination with a low initial investment and a very short payback time, cobots enable companies to do their first steps towards industry automation. Just like Hestra Teknik, a Swedish company that works with cutting processes. The cobot is used for part feeding to a CNC machine and thus eliminates the need of constant availability of an operator. For exact robot guidance, Hestra Teknik uses the Inspector PIM60 2D camera from SICK. It handles the localization of the parts on a conveyor belt and the UR cobot picks the parts and feeds it to the machine. With the Inspector PIM60 they are able to store configurations of up to 32 different parts on the camera itself.

 

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Enabling more applications with vision

 

When adding “eyes” to the robot, there are a lot more things you can do. As a pilot customer, Hestra Teknik integrated the SICK Inspector URCap software, a UR+ plugin, into the robot controller. With this software, it is easy to add the full functionality of the Inspector PIM60 vision sensor to the robot application: The Inspector PIM60 is an embedded vision sensor, which means that all calculations are done on the sensor itself, and there is no need for an external computer.

The natural step to take with a vision system and a robot is to enable robot guidance applications: After the quick calibration routine, the SICK Inspector can output pick-points in the robot’s coordinate system; and in addition to outputting coordinates, the Inspector PIM60 enables inspection and measurement tasks for pass/fail-criteria or trending.

With the SICK Inspector URCap software, you get an easy-to-use interface for the Inspector PIM60 and robot integration. It gives you an accessible way to reduce monotonous work for the operator and it also lets the user expand the use of collaborative robots.

 

Hestra_Artikel

 

Stefan Manfredsson, Business Manager at Hestra Teknik, explains the main advantage of the SICK Inspector URCap: “Simplicity – anyone with basic technical know-how can set this up!” Stefan continues: “Everything is integrated in the robot controller software; there is no need for setting up a PLC or other communication system.”

As one of the pilot customers, Hestra Teknik worked together with SICK to get a well-functioning URCap that has all the features needed and an easy-to-use interface. With SICK Inspector URCap SICK has developed an easy-to-use system that well matches the simplicity of the Universal Robots interface.

 

 

 

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