Robotiq, a Canadian provider of tools and software for collaborative robots (cobots), introduced a bin picking system that provides a complete solution for locating, picking, handling, and placing flat and cylindrical parts. Compatible with cobots from Universal Robots, the Robotiq Bin Picking Kit is designed for appliance manufacturing, automotive components, general industry, and metal and plastic products. Suitable applications range from stamping, bending, engraving, marking and painting, to deburring, grinding, line feeding and assembly.
The Robotiq Bin Picking Kit is compatible with bins of up to 800 x 600 x 450mm, handling parts of a minimum size of 10 x 10 x 5mm or flat parts at least 1.5mm thick. The kit is made up of the following components:
- Robotiq’s CoPilot software
- Robotiq’s electrical gripper with integrated vacuum generator EPick with extension kit
- The Pickit M-HD camera and software
“Historically, many automation engineers have found it difficult to understand which types of applications are most suitable for robotic bin-picking, while it has been highly challenging to determine the technical feasibility of bin picking applications without proof of concept,” said Nicolas Lauzier, product manager at Robotiq.
Lauzier added, “Furthermore, there has been no complete solution available, meaning companies have had to work with different suppliers for their application. However, with the move to Industry 4.0 and beyond, we believe the requirement for more flexible automation – over and above that achievable with mechanical part feeders – will only increase. Given current economic context, companies cannot continue asking for repetitive and unrewarding tasks such as machine tending and line feeding, so versatile robotic bin picking will increasingly become the preferred solution.
“Our system has been specifically designed to make robotic bin-picking achievable even for smaller companies who do not require a complex solution. Direct comparisons with the cost and efficiency of human labor are hard to make, but given that a bin-picking robot will not get distracted and can work uninterrupted for days or even weeks, the potential for a greater number of parts to be handled and accurately placed, is very clear. Providing more satisfying work for both the employees and the employers is also a massive motivation to launch this kit and is at the heart of Robotiq’s mission.”
Earlier in 2020, Universal Robots released a bin-picking kit, ActiNav, that is designed for machine tending applications. ActiNav requires a UR5e or UR10e cobot, an end effector of the user’s choice, and an application-specific frame or fixture. The kit includes the ActiNav software and autonomous motion module controller, the URCap user interface software, along with a choice of 3D sensors. It can handle vision processing, collision-free motion planning, and autonomous real-time robot control.
In March 2020, Robotiq added functionalities to its Finishing Copilot software. Designed for companies with polishing or sanding processes, the software’s new weaving motion and variable trajectory planning enable cobots to adjust their own path. This means cobots can finish a family of parts without the operator having to adapt the program.