Sensors, Software and EOAT
Random bin picking requires a convergence of technologies, particularly three main components that raise the robot’s intelligence: sensors, software, and end-of-arm tooling. Development in all three areas is moving us ever closer to that elusive prize.
“One of the big ones is the hardware,” says McCoy. “That just continues to get more cost-effective, with higher resolution and faster processing times. The ability to generate 3D point data is becoming more industrial hardened. Companies like Keyence and LMI are releasing very interesting products right now. It seems like everybody is racing to get 3D point clouds into the industrial space.
“More importantly is the software component,” he continues. “There are a lot of cool companies right now independent of the robot manufacturers that are trying to say that this is nothing more than a race for software. You have companies like Recognition Robotics that are doing really cool six degrees of freedom systems with 2D cameras.” (We covered Recognition Robotics’ random picking system in Intelligent Robots: A Feast for the Senses.
“I think all the hardware manufacturers are making huge strides in the resolution of 3D point cloud generating hardware,” says McCoy. “There are a lot of clever software developers out there that have taken advantage of it. I do feel like we’re at the point where those two technologies are converging at the right time. I’m excited to see what will be out there by 2020.”
Check out this case study and video by RIA Certified Robot Integrator Midwest Engineered Systems for the (pictured) random bin picking and part loading system for a heat treating operation.