Digital Twin Technology Reduces Commissioning Times

Sept. 23, 2019
ABB’s PickMaster aims to shorten commissioning times from days to hours.

ABB Robotics has launched the third generation of PickMaster®, its robotic software for vision-guided random flow picking and packing applications for the digital Factory of the Future. On display at PACK EXPO, The new PickMaster Twin software is equipped with digital twin technology for the first time, to shorten commissioning times from days to hours and cut changeover periods from hours to minutes, according to the company.

Digital twin technology allows customers to test out robotic configurations on virtual production lines before physical lines are built. When using digital twin technology, the simulated twin can be directly connected to production operations, which allows the picking process to be optimized virtually at the same time as the process is being implemented. For customers, PickMaster Twin now offers more flexibility and visualization of all complicated robotic maneuvers designed for flow-wrapping, tray-loading, case and carton packing, and handling applications.

Enabling offline programming of picking and packing tasks means users can create, simulate, and test a complete robot installation in a virtual environment without having to disturb their actual production line. This not only helps customers mitigate costly and time-consuming risks but also shortens the time to market for new products, as product lines can be installed faster.

PickMaster Twin also condenses and enhances the advanced application experience with new intuitive interfaces built on ABB’s AbilityTM Zenon Operations Data Management, providing vibrant and colorful dashboards for easy data visualization. In addition, PickMaster Twin complies with the OMAC PackML (packaging machine language) standard, which makes it ideal for modern packaging machines. The latest PickMaster software also features online visual tuning of the workspace in both X and Y directions in order to maximize output and increase overall equipment effectiveness (OEE).

PickMaster Twin is available in a multitude of configurations and can work seamlessly with all ABB robots, and a range of virtual and physical machines. Coupled with user-friendly software, the PickMaster Twin is best-suited for factories and production lines where higher output, faster response times, and quick changeovers are vital.

“These upgrades to ABB’s PickMaster technology will help our customers take high-speed picking and rapid applications to the next level, whether it’s to boost picking and packing efficiency or to reduce the cost of integrating robotics into production lines,” says Steven Wyatt, Head of Portfolio and Digital for ABB Robotics & Discrete Automation business.

ABB booth visitor scan reconfigure boxes on a pallet, and the ABB vison-equipped IRB 460 palletizing robot will identify the new pattern and begin to de-palletize the random configuration. The company'sSafeMove2 with SICK safety scanners allow visitors to safely collaborate with the robot by slowing and then stopping the robot as they approach. The demo highlights the flexibility and modularity of ABB robotic palletizing and de-palletizing systems integrated with ABB’s 3D vision system.

Aside from this new technology, ABB Robotics and ABB subsidiary B&R Industrial Automation will share adjacent booths, bringing together solutions for flexible, high-performance packaging automation. Highlights of the ABB Pack Expo 2019 exhibit include the IRB 360 FlexPicker® with B&R ACOPOStrak Intelligent Track Technology. The industry-leading, pick-and-place Delta robot seamlessly integrated with the highly flexible B&R track system quickly routes products from processing station to processing station on independently-controlled shuttles. The system adapts to the variables of the product being packaged, rather than the product conforming to a rigidly sequential process. This allows “on-the-fly” changeovers that make cost-effective, mass customization down to batch size one a practical reality.

ABB also displayed its ABB Ability™ Connected Servicesa unified, cross-industry digital offering extending from device to edge to cloud. All ABB robots come ready to be connected to ABB AbilityConnected Services, wirelessly or hard-wired.

ABB also supplied a dual-arm YuMi® collaborative robot and an IRB 1200 robot to the “PACK for a Purpose: Robots Fighting Hunger” area in the Robotics Zone in the North Hall. The robots helped pack backpacks with food throughout the show for children facing food insecurity across Las Vegas and elsewhere in the U.S.

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