You want your robot to accurately and repeatably pick up random parts. Sick’s PLB 3D vision system makes that an easy task. It integrates a wide array of software packages that turn your PLB hardware into the eyes and brain for your robot.
Many 3D scanners on the market ignore the software side of things, so you and your integration team would have to select software and configure it correctly. Now you don’t have to worry about that. The Sick PLB, a next-generation 3D vision scanner, was designed from the ground up as a random bin picking solution that integrates easily with your chosen robot system, straight out of the box.
The power of the Sick PLB scanner is not just the software packages that are integrated for you, but also the new-generation triangulation-type laser scanner, which captures the whole laser picture with no visible movement. You can mount the laser in a fixed location using a simple frame, where previous generations required the use of a conveyor or a robotic movement to see the product.
This next-generation scanner uses a line laser to create a line on a part, and a camera at an angle to view the line. The perspective change allows the laser line to highlight the 3D shape of the part. Previous-generation triangulation-type laser scanners relied on either the scanner to move across the part or the part to move under the scanner to get a full 3D picture of what was in front of the laser. This next generation of triangulation-type laser scanners moves the camera and the laser automatically by rotating them inside the scan frame.
Like all 3D scanners, the result of a scan is a vast amount of X, Y and Z points. The PLB laser generates hundreds of thousands of these points. The combination of these X, Y and Z points is called a point cloud image.
Because the software packages are integrated, you can take the vast point cloud image and turn it into actionable information for your robot. First, the software lets you import CAD drawings of your part, so the supplied software understands the shape of the part from different perspectives. You can also import CAD drawings of the robot end effector, so the software can understand the shape of the device that will be grabbing the part.
After this, you create a series of rules about which grips are allowed and approach angles to allow the system to eliminate solutions that cannot be safely executed. Once this is done, the software uses very advanced algorithms to find your parts within this vast point cloud image dataset, and then return a robot pick solution directly into the position registers of your robot. In the robot program, it is triggered to go to the pick location to grab the part, then the robot program uses the part as appropriate.
Michael Lindley is vice president of business development and marketing at Concept Systems Inc., a certified member of the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA). For more information, see Concept Systems’ profile on the Industrial Automation Exchange.