Add bin-picking robots to increase throughput, using same software, 3D vision

Need more throughput on a line? Add another robot or two with same controller and machine vision; redesigned robot pendant adds tablet form factor, ease of use capabilities.

By Mark T. Hoske November 3, 2023
Courtesy: Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology

 

Learning Objectives

  • Watch video to see robots, vision and controller work as a system to pick faster, avoid collisions
  • See differences in redesigned, lighter tablet-styled robot teach pendant with higher resolution, updated capabilities.

Bin-picking robotics insights

  • Video shows how robots, vision and controller work as a system to pick faster, avoid collisions at a Mitsubishi Electric Automation demonstration at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2023.
  • A redesigned, lighter tablet-styled robot teach pendant from Mitsubishi Electric Automation provides higher resolution and updated capabilities for easier use.

To provide more throughput without reconfiguring a line, another robot or two can be added so multiple robots can work in the same space. Patrick Varley, Mitsubishi Electric Automation marketing manager, demonstrated a 3D bin picking package with three robots, at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2023. The arrangement allows adding automation to existing lines to increase throughput and help with labor shortages, as many companies are unable to fill positions.

Patrick Varley, Mitsubishi Electric Automation marketing manager, demonstrated a 3D bin picking package with three robots, at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2023. The integrated package allows adding automation to existing lines to increase throughput and help with labor shortages, as many companies are unable to fill positions.

Patrick Varley, Mitsubishi Electric Automation marketing manager, demonstrated a 3D bin picking package with three robots, at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2023. The integrated package allows adding automation to existing lines to increase throughput and help with labor shortages, as many companies are unable to fill positions. Courtesy: Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology

Robots, vision, controller pick faster, avoid collisions

The package combines Mitsubishi robots with Sick 3D machine vision to locate the objects in the bin with a Realtime Robotics controller, which determines the best sequence to pick up the objects and send instructions to each Mitsubishi robot, ensuring each robot avoids the others.

The bundle of robots, controller and vision provides the ability to add robots to existing lines to improve throughput while minimizing workspace impacts, avoiding collisions and slowdowns that can occur if the robots were communicating with each other (which they’re not). In addition to packaging applications, 3D bin picking can be used for kitting parts in bulk, supplementing the workforce, Varley noted.

An integrated package of Mitsubishi Electric Automation robots, Sick 3D vision and Realtime Robotics controller showed how more throughput can be added with less system integration and fewer parts at the Mitsubishi booth at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2023.

An integrated package of Mitsubishi Electric Automation robots, Sick 3D vision and Realtime Robotics controller showed how more throughput can be added with less system integration and fewer parts at the Mitsubishi booth at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2023. Courtesy: Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology

Because the robot, 3D vision system and picking and guidance software are pre-integrated as a system, it lowers cost and reduces time to use. Benchmarking two robots delivered 1.7 or 1.8 times the throughput by sharing one 3D sensor, Varley explained. It’s available now.

Watch a video showing three Mitsubishi robots picking from one bin, with Varley’s narration.

Redesigned, lighter tablet-styled robot teach pendant has higher resolution

Among other Mitsubishi technologies at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2023, Mitsubishi Electric Automation’s R86 robot teach pendant (photo) has higher resolution and avoids the need for a computer when programming or configuring robot movements. The new design is lighter and styled like a rugged tablet, capable of showing live robot movements in real time. A touchscreen, edit functions, program templates and other features make it more like operating popular tablets than the heavier round design pendant released 12 years prior.

Mitsubishi Electric Automation’s R86 robot teach pendant has higher resolution and avoids the need for a computer when programming or configuring robot movements. The new design is lighter and styled like a rugged tablet, capable of showing live robot movements in real time, as seen at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2023.

Mitsubishi Electric Automation’s R86 robot teach pendant has higher resolution and avoids the need for a computer when programming or configuring robot movements. The new design is lighter and styled like a rugged tablet, capable of showing live robot movements in real time, as seen at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2023. Courtesy: Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology

Compared to a heavier round design pendant released 12 years prior (left), the Mitsubishi Electric Automation R86 robot teach pendant is lighter and styled like a rugged tablet, capable of showing live robot movements in real time. Touchscreen, edit functions, program templates and other features make it more like operating popular tablets, as seen at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2023.

Compared to a heavier round design pendant released 12 years prior (left), the Mitsubishi Electric Automation R86 robot teach pendant is lighter and styled like a rugged tablet, capable of showing live robot movements in real time. Touchscreen, edit functions, program templates and other features make it more like operating popular tablets, as seen at Pack Expo Las Vegas 2023. Courtesy: Mark T. Hoske, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology

Mark T. Hoske is content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology, mhoske@cfemedia.com.

KEYWORDS: Bin-picking robots, robotic teach pendant

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Author Bio: Mark Hoske has been Control Engineering editor/content manager since 1994 and in a leadership role since 1999, covering all major areas: control systems, networking and information systems, control equipment and energy, and system integration, everything that comprises or facilitates the control loop. He has been writing about technology since 1987, writing professionally since 1982, and has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree from UW-Madison.