A cornerstone to the advancement of automation technology has been the sensor. From the deployment of increasing arrays of sensors for improved manufacturing intelligence to the development of new concepts such as the “Internet of Things,” sensors are as much at the heart of automation as the controller itself.
Like any continually developing technology, critical ideas come from a variety of sources. And so it is with a new robotic sensor that brings the capabilities of the Kinect sensor used in the Xbox 360 and other consumer devices to the industrial realm.
This new sensor, the Industrial 3D Eye from EVT (Karlsruhe, Germany), when used as part of EVT’s EyeVision system, reportedly opens up new application ranges of robot control by the combination of a depth sensor and a normal camera. Among the applications for which EVT says the new technology is particular well suited includes palletizing, de-palletizing, object recognition, and the sorting of components on an assembly line.
For example, the EyeVision system with the Industrial 3D Eye is said to enable robots to control the completeness of a palette and even gather a number of objects from one palette in order to load a new palette.
The EyeVision technology also enables a robot to access all data related to an object, such as the spatial position, size, etc. The system combination also aids in quality checking, as objects can be checked for correctness during gripping.
Communication between the EyeVision system and the robot occurs via a high-capacity library that contains the instruction sets for many conventional robots, such as those from KUKA, ABB, Stäubli and others.
All common image-processing methods are also available for the system, such as reading tasks (OCR/OCV, bar code, DMC, QR code) and measuring tasks.