January 15, 2021

Automated handling of heavy gas cylinders

Partner:

Tecnalia

 

Problem:

The project objective was to design a prototype of an efficient mobile manipulator robot to automate the internal logistics of preparing gas cylinders baskets. The procedure is currently performed manually.

The aim of the project was to increase safety and eliminate injuries such as muscle and skeletal damage caused by the manual handling of heavy bottles. Automation of the process should also improve traceability, stock knowledge, and the digitalization of operations within the filling centers of Air Liquide.

The deployed 3D vision system – PhoXi 3D Scanner M – is used to make a 3D point cloud reconstruction of the bottles and localize them so that the system can calculate the center of each bottle and send a command to the robot arm to pick them on the basis of exact coordinates. 

 

Solution:

PhoXi 3D Scanner M

An autonomous, automatic manipulator prepares customer orders into baskets. It collects the bottles, storing them on a platform and then placing them into baskets to be loaded on trucks and delivered to the customers. The autonomous mobile manipulator integrates a platform with an autonomous navigation, a robotic arm with a gripper capable of picking and placing the bottles safely, and a 3D vision system that identifies and locates the bottles inside the basket in order to guide the robotic arm to the correct position to pick them. The system also identifies free space in the baskets to fill it with additional bottles to maintain stability.

 

Discussion:

The customer decided for the PhoXi 3D Scanner M based on its high accuracy and a scanning volume that fits the application requirements.

The solution has not yet been adopted – it is the first prototype that needs improvements for industrialization.

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