Robotics case study

The Client

Our client is a prominent drinks manufacturer in Ireland, producing household-name branded products. L.A.C. Conveyors & Automation used their experience and expertise to provide an ideal solution.

 

The Challenge

The client approached L.A.C. Conveyors & Automation to develop a solution for detesting stacks of metal drums and placing them 4 at a time on an empty pallet before being transported onto automatic filling equipment.

Previously, expensive, complicated and maintenance-intensive machinery had been proposed to maintain the position of each stack of drums for picking by robots. However, L.A.C. worked on providing an alternative solution, in order to:

  • Overcome or correct any movement of the drum stack that may affect the accuracy of the robot pick
  • Reduce maintenance
  • Reduce complexity
  • Ensure longevity and simplicity
  • Maintain high reliability

 

Our Approach

L.A.C.’s previous experience with 3D vision systems enabled them to completely do away with any mechanical device to align or realign each drum stack. Eliminating mechanics from the project had significant benefits – by doing away with maintenance, simplifying the solution and extending longevity and reliability.

L.A.C.’s solution involved the use of 3D vision system the “Stinger”, supplied by Scorpion Vision. By utilising Vision to determine each drum’s spacial position, any deviation of the drum stack through leaning or shifting would immediately be detected and overcome.

The data generated by this system means each drum can be very accurately located and verified with 100% confidence. Measurements can be taken and 3D spacial positions are generated in less than a second.

 

Results

There were several key benefits to the client of using this technology:

  • it is a simple and easy to use a system that produces feedback to the operator HMI for each data acquisition event to improve fault traceability
  • it can react to drum stack variation without having to use more mechanical means of drum stack centralising, saving additional maintenance
  • it provides a more flexible system that can easily be adapted to any future requirements by simple reprogramming
  • it provides the ability to work in a tight workspace and provide the robot with unhindered access for drum picking
  • it produces accurate results no matter the stack inclination within set boundaries
  • in combination with the robot, it eliminates the need to manually de-stack drums and overcome manual handling issues

“I had previously experienced a very good result using Scorpions 3D vision on a very challenging project depalletising tea for a well known UK tea blender. I was impressed not only by the systems ability to work unhindered in varying light conditions but also by the dedication of the Scorpion team. Scorpion were able to remotely link to the unit and continually update the camera as we made system changes during factory testing and commissioning. In the end the tests carried out on the test rig only solidified what we already knew and that was that this is a very reliable and solid vision solution that we wouldn’t hesitate to use again” Steve Prior, Head of L.A.C. Robotics Division – L.A.C. Conveyors & Automation

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