Manufacturers are already familiar with conventional industrial automation, but a new generation of robots and accessories is offering new levels of flexibility and productivity, according to OnRobot A/S. The Odense, Denmark-based company last week announced a software update for its 2.5D camera-based Eyes vision system.
“Traditional approaches to industrial automation place the product at the center, which results in costly, overcomplicated solutions to simple automation problems,” stated Enrico Krog Iversen, CEO of OnRobot. “OnRobot takes a more practical, application-centered approach. This means providing our customers with easy-to-use tools tailored to specific application needs. But it also means empowering customers through updates to existing products that enable deployments in new application domains.”
The company’s products for collaborative applications include electric grippers, force/torque sensors, vacuum grippers, the Gecko Gripper, an electric screwdriver, and tool changers. OnRobot said its combined offerings make it quicker and simpler to automate tasks such as machine tending, material handling, material removal, quality assurance, and assembly. It was a 2020 RBR50 innovation award winner for its One System Solution for end-of-arm tooling.
OnRobot’s Eyes enables quality assurance
The vision software update came in response to customer requests, said OnRobot. The new features enable Eyes to be deployed in quality inspection applications and on mobile robots, according to the company. They include one-shot detection for multiple objects, color and blob detection, and automatic landmark-calibration tools designed to speed setup cycle times.
“OnRobot prides itself on having meaningful conversations with customers and on having the agility to respond to those conversations quickly through new releases and product updates,” said Iversen. “Our customers told us that they love Eyes’ ease of use, but that they would like to see new features tailored to common quality inspection tasks. Today’s Eyes update delivers that functionality.”
The new inspection features enable the Eyes system to easily sort, inspect, or pick and place unstructured objects using color and contour detection. Such capabilities are beyond most competing vision systems, claimed OnRobot. This detection method requires no workpiece teaching and finds items based on color and size information input by the operator, it said.
Eyes’ inspection features can be used to inspect parts removed from CNC machines, for example, or to check IMM (Insert Multi Mesh) parts for excessive or inadequate material after part has been molded. The tools also support manual inspections. an operator can set up a camera and inspection program, manually place a workpiece, and execute inspection without a robot.
In addition, the Eyes update provides users with one-shot detection for multiple objects, allowing the system to pick all workpieces with only one picture. This reduces complexity for users and improves cycle times, said OnRobot. The update includes tools that allow users to request specific workpiece types and specify gripper clearance parameters.
Landmark intended to ease mobile robot deployment
The new Landmark feature is designed to ease deployment of Eyes on mobile robots and carts, trays, and pallets. End users can program mobile robots to move from station to station using user-defined landmarks. Landmarks can also be used to initiate specific robot operations.
For example, when Eyes detects the arrival of a mobile cart in its workspace loaded with parts for picking, it can easily switch to pick-and-place routines.
“More and more manufacturers are looking to deploy robot arms on mobile platforms for various factory and warehouse applications,” said Iversen. “Today’s update gives our customers the ability to put ‘Eyes’ on mobile robots and does so without sacrificing the ease of use that makes our products such a compelling proposition for manufacturers of all sizes.”