Bin picking of entangled metallic hooks
Formation of metal wires into hooks.
The whole process consists of several steps. First, the metal wires are bent into 5-cm hooks and collected in a big container. Each hook is then picked from the bin and put into a press to get its ends formed. In the next step, the hooks are brought to another station where a bead is put on the flattened end of each hook. The hook and the bead get pressed together with a spring that gets tapered around. The final product is a swivel hook extension spring, used for instance as a tensioning spring for fan belt pulleys.
A key part of the production process involves moving a single hook out of a cluttered pile and inserting the hooks into a press that forms the ends – classic bin picking and machine tending tasks that were previously done manually. The customer needed a solution that would automate this part of the process.
The customer decided for a solution that involves the implementation of the PhoXi 3D Scanner in combination with CapSen Robotics’ 3D vision, motion planning and control software. The task of picking randomly placed hooks from a cluttered pile requires a perfect 3D machine vision solution. The scanner captures the whole pile, and the software analyzes the scene and communicates the position of each single hook to the robot. According to the obtained data, the robot knows which hook is most suitable for picking in each round. Because the hooks are often entangled, it is sometimes necessary for the robot to put the picked hook down and grab it again in the right place and with the right orientation.
The solution is based on a perfect interplay between superior 3D machine vision, classical geometric CAD-matching and modern machine learning techniques.
The robot’s spatial intelligence is bolstered by full motion planning and control. Fast performance is ensured by the system processing the next image and planning the path to the next hook while the robot is still occupied with the previous object.
The implementation of this solution led to the reduction of mistakes, increased production, lower costs and safer working conditions. Employees can now devote their time to less mundane tasks, which leads to higher output and better quality.