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Pick and Place within manufacturing varies greatly from application to application, though principally they are very similar. Pick and place applications have expanded in parallel with robotics innovations to bring new automation solutions to the market, offering solutions to more complex manufacturing challenges.

The introduction of vision systems has unlocked a new wave of automation possibilities, equipping robots with ‘eyes’ to complete tasks which they were before uncapable of. One vison application which has received much attention for its complexity is automated bin picking. Bin picking applications are now made possible through advanced 3D vision systems which enable robots better understand what they are seeing.

OMRON TM 3D Bin Picking

What is Bin Picking?

Bin picking is a vision-based pick and place application which mainly focuses on two of todays most advanced automation technologies: Robots and Computer vision. The introduction of vision, and its combination with robots, has enabled robots to see, opening new automation opportunities. Advancements in 3D cameras have taken these opportunities a step further by providing robots with more advanced data which enables them to pick parts from containers (bins) that are arranged in a chaotic manner (bin picking).

Bin picking changes the way we view a robot’s capabilities. With previous assumptions around repetition and things remaining constant, bin picking applications consist of a sequence of tasks which are never the same.

Manual to Automated Bin Picking

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Material Handling

Rationale for a Bin Picking Vision System

Vision based robot systems have many properties which can be used as rationale for their adoption into manufacturing environments. Their ability to identify, locate, pick, orientate and place parts within a compact solution makes bin picking applications suitable for many scenarios.

Reduced Handling of Parts

Utilising a bin picking application can potentially reduce the amount of overall equipment needed to complete a task, saving space and also reducing any unnecessary handling. Where multiple systems may have previously been in place to orientate, then present parts for processing, bin picking applications now combine both of these processes into one system.

Adaptive Automation

Equipping a robot with vision essentially provides them with an additional level of intelligence. Though the benefits of robots and vision can be discussed separately, the combination of the two technologies results in a solution which is adaptive, responding to the changes its presented with, opposed to following predefined paths and processes.

Better Utilisation of Operators

Where operators may have previously been involved in these tasks, introducing bin picking allows for more suitable use of operator time, allowing them to undertake tasks which require human thought and dexterity. Repetitive tasks such as this also carry a high risk of RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury), this can be dramatically reduced using robots.

Guided System

Guided by vision based data, robots are able to operate with minimal supervision. Integrated safety features also allow them to coexist in close proximity to operators and other equipment safely.

3D Bin Picking
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Omron TM Camera

Robot Vision Systems

The push towards more flexible production control has meant that robotics are now a fundamental in the modern production environment. The ability to switch between products and produce ‘on-demand’ means that more and more functionality is being required of robots, with vision being that next step. In addition, there is a shift towards increased use of automation and reduced use of manual based labour production. Robots can complement, assist or replace operators in areas of monotonous production and assembly, however as production speed and complexity increases due to changing requirements, there is a greater need for robots to understand and interpret its environment.

Vision systems allow robots to interpret a scene and unpick details to determine what’s important. Robots using vision can be greatly beneficial to enhancing production efficiency and reducing costs, offering a range of different applications. In many cases labour savings are crucial to achieving goals, thus production planning in terms of layout, process flow and flexibility all need to be considered.

Vision in Cobots

Cobots, designed to work alongside humans, are making automation more accessible to businesses of all sizes and in all sectors. The introduction of Cobots is having a revolutionary impact on vision systems, offering even more opportunities than before. The use of Cobots combined with vision within manufacturing applications is providing a safe and flexible solution in in many instances, where over handling and flexibility are issues.

The main advantages of Cobots are; they are well suited to tight space scenarios due to size; they are extremely flexible due to their smart software interfaces; and they are safe to work with due to their integrated safety features, plus additional safety solutions available to them.

Omron TM Light
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Omron TM Integrated Vision

Omron’s TM series of Cobots are the first Cobots to feature integrated vision out of the box. The integrated vision system is designed to support industrial grade pattern recognition, object positioning, and feature identification. Users can set up vision tasks for immediate deployment without going through complex steps of integrated external cameras or lighting equipment.

Benefits of Cobot Vision

Omron’s TM series of Cobots are the first Cobots to feature integrated vision out of the box. The integrated vision system is designed to support industrial grade pattern recognition, object positioning, and feature identification. Users can set up vision tasks for immediate deployment without going through complex steps of integrated external cameras or lighting equipment.

Omron TM Vision Applications

Random Item Recognition

Omron TM integrated vision system is beneficial in assisting with 2D item recognition, allowing for more unorganised picks on a production line. The combination of shape and colour recognition also enable it to determine one part from another, giving accurate and consistent picks.

Quality Control

Common in the Automotive industry, barcodes and QR codes are often used to ensure the correct parts are used. Capable of reading barcodes and QR codes, the Omron TM series allows for greater quality control through the validation of parts, eliminating the possibility of human error.

Object Positioning

Integrated vision enhances pick and place applications with the use of a 2D camera. 2D vision allows Cobots to complete ‘messy picks’, widening pick and place opportunities for Cobot technology within manufacturing.  Using recognition features, the Omron TM is able to locate the correct parts for picking.

Omron TM Landmark

Omron’s TM landmarks makes for easy navigation around the work space and redeployment of equipment. The use of landmarks allows for positions to be taught to the robot, allowing it to understand where it is relative to the work cell. This feature makes redeploying the Cobot for a variety of applications much easier.

Omron TM Landmark
Additional Service and Support

Reeco aim to provide the highest standard in service and support. From initial discussions to final installation, Reeco offer support at every stage of your projects journey, from proof of concept to sophisticated safety systems, remote access systems and bespoke service packages.

Proof of Concept
Proof of Concept

Reeco offer a proof of concept service to help validate automation ideas and provide reassurance before the beginning of your project, eliminating the need for full commitment – Proof of concepts allow us to do the thinking for you.

Cobot Safety
Cobot Safety

Safety is a critical part of Cobot integration and paramount to a projects success. Though Cobots are typically safer than their industrial counter parts, when equipped with tooling and additional equipment a safety reassessment is required.

Remote Access
Remote Access

Reeco’s remote access solution was specifically introduced to help clients trouble shoot problems efficiently, improving access to support, saving time and reducing maintenance costs. Our remote access system allows you to react to unexpected issues with fast, expert help.