Cobots Make Random Picks

And overcome what used to be impossible.

Show Daily Exclusive - Pick six different size food items randomly oriented on a moving conveyor and place each of these items into the same pouch. Then do this again 1,199 times, ensuring each pouch has the same six items. This is the challenge a collaborative robot (cobot)-equipped packaging line from Universal Robots USA (UR, Booth US-7279) and Allied Technology addresses in the Robotics Zone (Booth N-850). Cobots on the line quickly identify and pick items, ranging from packs of Craisins® to cans of beef ravioli. The work done by the cobots will provide food-filled backpacks to Blessings in a Backpack, a leader in the effort to end childhood hunger, ensuring that children receiving free or subsidized school lunches during the week do not go hungry on weekends.
“We are excited to partner with Blessings in a Backpack while also addressing the needs of the packaging industry with solutions that will simplify and fast-track cobot deployment on their lines,” says Stuart Shepherd, regional sales director of Universal Robots’ Americas division.
“Random picking is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after automation tasks from industries such as eCommerce, fulfillment centers and warehousing,” he explains. The demo shows a compact, modular system handling the entire process from box erecting to vision-guided conveyor tracking, part picking, tote assembly, pouch filling and sealing, kitting and palletizing. Shepherd notes, it also shows off the capabilities of UR’s Certified Systems Integrators (CSIs) like Allied Technology, which “was able to quickly create this fully automated solution.”
The line features four UR cobots equipped with products from the UR+ platform that certifies grippers, vision cameras, software and other peripherals to work seamlessly with UR’s cobot arms. The latest flexible grasping technology is shown on a UR5e cobot equipped with the Kenos® KCS vacuum gripper from Piab (Booth C-4736) and guided by a vision camera from Cognex (Booth LS-6163), a UR+ partner.
Picking capabilities also are on display at UR’s booth. In this demo, assembled by Saber Engineering, another UR CSI, a UR5 cobot locates and recognizes randomly positioned batteries. Using an end-of-arm micro camera from Keyence (Booth US-7541) it picks and places the batteries, checks for damage and finishes the cycle by placing products into trays per specific voltage requirements.
Elsewhere in the booth, visitors can walk up to and interact with cobots in the “playpen area” where an U53e cobot with Robotiq’s new UR+ certified E-Pick vacuum gripper allows attendees to explore on-the-spot programming. The gripper is a recent addition in a rapidly expanding UR+ product portfolio that now includes 195 UR+ certified products.
A dedicated classroom in the booth offers a setting for free one-hour training sessions to help end users kick-start cobot-assisted packaging applications. Classes presented by certified trainers focus on Pick-and-Place, Moving Conveyors or Palletizing. Attendees depart with a complete and functional program for their application.
The company also is launching its Service360 Now program that provides customized service plans designed to facilitate direct access to cobot specialists and quick resolution of any cobot issues. A 24/7 Customer Portal online management system dispatches onsite UR experts within hours. Video or onsite meetings provide support for preventive maintenance and cobot optimization.
For more information, visit www.universal-robots.com, www.piab.com, www.cognex.com, www.keyence.com. SD

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