Video: Latest Pick and Place Robotics: Vision-Integrated, Flexible and Fast
James Anderton posted on August 09, 2018 |

One criticism of industrial robots is that they aren’t always up to snuff when it comes to the speed and flexibility we take for granted in human workers. Even today, picking objects from a bin is a major challenge, and even the best solutions are slower and less perfect than many expect from a multi-six-figures investment. However, as we saw in this demonstration, robots can dramatically outperform humans in many other tasks, such as pick and place. 

In high-speed pick and place applications, such as pharmaceutical, electronics, and food production, it’s all about speed and repeatability. In this demonstration, the robot tracks vision images, puts the images into a queue, and then assembles the objects in the right orientation, in real time. This is typical of the presentation in a vibratory feeding system or other randomized solution. The demonstration is oddly mesmerizing to watch, as the robot steadily picks part after part.

The SCARA robot shown here is the SR-3iA. It has a reach of 400mm, with a vertical stroke of 200mm. The robot’s work envelope reaches 360 degrees and has a high precision of ± 0.01mm, making it suitable for electronics assembly or other fine tasks. The robot also features a more robust cable to handle high speed actuation and reduce fatigue on the cables and hoses.

For pick-and-place tasks, SCARA robots are among the fastest options along with delta robots. However, SCARA can be simpler to integrate, since deltas require a rigid overhead mounting structure to support the high inertia of the moving robot, while SCARAs can be simply bolted down. Of course, cartesian robots are another option. While generally less expensive, cartesian robots are also slower and may present challenges for IP rating and cleanliness requirements.

Beyond frustrations in operation, some robot users may also run into difficulties programming and setting up their robotic cell. FANUC addresses this robot is programmed in a non-traditional way with hand guidance and a tablet, teaching the robot, or feeding it mapped data manually. The HMI connects to the robot’s IP address over a wired or wireless network, and the iRProgrammer software can run in a standard web browser, such as Safari or Chrome. The robot also uses 120V non-industrial power, making deployment more flexible.

While industrial robot technology still has room for improvement in some areas, demonstrations like this show that in many applications, today’s industrial robots from FANUC as well as other manufacturers are well equipped to add value to your production line or increase throughput, repeatability and ergonomics.


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