Which visual guidance hardware should you choose for your assembly line?
Incorporating robotic technology into a manufacturing plant’s assembly line offers many benefits to the facility’s efficiency and productivity. With a myriad of components involved, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the options. How do you know what the right combination of technology is for your plant?
As with many problems, the solution starts with understanding the end goal. The equipment needed for product assembly differs greatly from the technology used in painting a part. Because visual guidance can be used for many purposes, clearly understanding the manufacturing process problem or opportunity you want to address goes a long way in determining the equipment needed.
Despite the wide variety of functions performed by robots, many of the hardware components involved are similar.
One of the most easily recognized hardware components used in a visual guidance system is a robot or robotic arm. When choosing a robot for your visual guidance system, consider the application it’ll be used for: Are you bin picking or painting a car? Are you assembling parts or inspecting them? Selecting the right robot will be a function of the specific tasks to be performed, the sophistication and complexity of these tasks, the robot’s speed and durability, and the volume and physical dimensions of the parts, sub-assemblies and finished products involved.
Another consideration when selecting a specific robot is its versatility and transferability. In many instances, it is ideal to consider robotic systems that can be used in different areas of the plant and used in a variety of ways.
It’s also important to ensure the robot you select is compatible with the software systems you have in place or plan on using, or that it’s compatible with more than one type of software system.
There are a variety of robot manufacturers to choose from, including Comau, Kawasaki, ABB, Fanuc, Kuka, Motoman and Nachi. Many products from these manufacturers are used in a plethora of automotive applications, both big and small. For example, the Motoman MotoMini is designed for handling and packaging applications, such as assembly, dispensing, machine tending, material handling, pick and pack, and pick and place. It features a small robotic arm and can carry payloads up to 0.5 kilograms, making it ideal for moving small parts in a short amount of time.
The Kawasaski KJ314, on the other hand, is designed for painting applications. It has a wrist payload of 15 kilograms and an arm payload of 25 kilograms. With its seven degrees of freedom, this robot has the ability to paint automobile bodies in hard-to-reach areas.
Other Visual Guidance Hardware Components
Once you have your specific robot selected, you’ll need several other hardware components to make the system fully automated. As a whole, visual guidance systems are typically composed of cameras, lights, cables, the software to run the system and a computer to run the software on.
Visual guidance systems vary greatly by manufacturer. Some visual guidance systems require specific lighting or multiple cameras in order to accurately function. Others require custom coding from a skilled programmer or an integration team to implement them, a process that can take several days or weeks of downtime.
What sets Recognition Robotics’ solution, CortexRecognition® visual recognition software with Robeye® hardware, apart from its competitors is its ability to solve all of these issues. The solution offers six degrees of freedom, eliminating a potential source of calibration errors. Additionally, the system is AI-based, without the need for programming. Configuring the system can be performed quickly by in-house maintenance staff, avoiding costly third-party integrators.
See Our Visual Guidance System in Action
While it’s critical to choose the most efficient and cost-effective hardware for your visual guidance system, it’s only part of the full solution. It’s also important to choose cutting-edge software that can be quickly and easily programmed to perform new or updated tasks. Recognition Robotics’ CortexRecognition® visual recognition software is paired with Robeye® to perform automated tasks. Request a demo of these products to find out how they can boost efficiency at your plant.
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