Robotic picking of croissants

March 15, 2022

Partner:

IMR – Irish Manufacturing Research

Multipix Imaging Ltd.

 

Problem:

Bin picking of randomly oriented parts is of great interest to manufacturers as automation of these processes can save a lot of costs and space. The market offers a large number of bin picking solutions but many of them struggle with recognizing and identifying transparent, deformable, variable , and reflective objects that may even be piled, entangled, and jumbled up. 

The Irish Manufacturing Research built a bin picking cell for the picking of 3 different types of randomly oriented bread products. 

This project presented several technical challenges: 

  • Identification and picking of objects of non-symmetrical and complex shapes
  • Random orientation of the objects
  • Picking of 3 different types of objects
  • Achieving optimal process speed

 

Solution:

Bin Picking Studio + PhoXi 3D Scanner

The solution comprises a bin picking cell with Photoneo robotic intelligence software for bin picking – the Bin Picking Studio, a PhoXi 3D Scanner, and a UR 5 robot. The supplier of Photoneo technology in the UK is Multipix Imaging.

Before implementation, the following setup and configuration requirements needed to be met:   

Pre-planning:  

  • Defining a suitable end-of-arm tooling design 
  • Mounting an EOAT gripper and testing its operation on the robot
  • Ensuring correct safety requirements (Collaborative mode or Industrial mode)
  • Having CAD models (in the STL file format) of:
    • The product to be picked
    • The EOAT gripper
    • The cell layout 
  • Having the required software files of the UR5 robot for integration with the Bin Picking Studio
  • Having the required network cables for a physical connection between Bin Picking Studio, UR5, and PhoXi 3D Scanner
  • Having an HDMI cable for connection between Bin Picking Studio hardware and the monitor screen

Setup:

After all the above requirements had been met, the next implementation steps were:

  • Building the cell and integrating hardware
  • Integrating Bin Picking studio hardware and software 
  • Planning gripper grasping, including all potential grasping orientations and picking points 
  • Calibration of robot vision and the end-of-arm tooling  
  • Setting parameters 
  • Optimization of layout, path planning, and robot parameters 
  • Repeatability testing  

The system enables repeatable picking and emptying of random bins filled with 3 different bread products of complex shapes at a picking rate of 6ppm. If the products had a symmetrical shape, the processing speed would be even faster.  

The system enables an easy changeover between different products.

 

Discussion:

This project provides IMR partners and customers insights into the requirements and capabilities of a typical bin picking solution. IMR has invested in a commercial bin picking solution that Irish manufacturers and IMR partners can avail of. 

The system can be further optimized by:

  • Setting the robot speed to maximum
  • Restricting the robot’s joint motions for shorter trajectories
  • Using smart memory and fast scanning option
  • Optimizing localization parameters available in the system
  • Using grasp invariance feature that allows multiple possible grasp points on the product

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