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Bin Picking: Reaching into the bin with Artificial Intelligence

One of the currently most challenging and at the same time most sought-after tasks in robotics is the automated classification of objects provided as bulk material. With the help of a 3-D camera, the bin picking system processes disordered individual parts of different shapes and materials and brings them into an orderly position. For companies with a desire for robot-automated picking, bin picking represents an innovative automation process that offers a high degree of flexibility in terms of component variance as well as component geometry.

VWH GmbH integrates the bin picking system not only into new, but also into existing assembly lines and thus makes an essential contribution to the optimization of time-consuming work processes in the area of component feeding and packaging.

Optimal position determination through precise technology

The core of the bin picking system lies in a qualitatively outstanding 3-D camera technology, combined with an evaluation unit and the associated path control for the robot.

"After initial problems with the process-safe detection of the components and the repeatable control of the robot, the system quickly developed into a highly available alternative for conventional feeding and packaging systems," explains Carsten Ebenig of VWH GmbH. The basis for automation of this kind is the use of high-quality system components.

The initial challenge in the automated "reach into the box" was the recognition, localization, classification as well as the storage of individual components. VWH GmbH overcame these hurdles through its in-house and cross-functional expertise in camera technology, robotics and mechanical engineering.

Solve problems and seize advantages with keyence systems

A major advantage of the keyence system is the ease with which various components can be taught and the integrated path control of the robot, which eliminates the need for its direct programming. Particular attention is paid to the residual emptying of the container during process planning. As a specialist and system integrator in the field of assembly and handling technology, VWH GmbH focuses on individual solution approaches during the overall planning of the automation process, which are coordinated together with the customers' process planners and logistics specialists.

The advantages of bin picking are relevant for customers in all industries who have to feed components with repeat accuracy in the production area, deposit them in intermediate positions or pack them.

What does the future of bin picking look like?

Robotics is already considered a key industry at present. Current market developments highlight the importance of bin picking for the international market in particular. In various industries, the system is a permanent fixture within automation processes. The ambitious goal in China is to become the technology leader within the next five years. This is more than clearly underpinned by the decision to build a new industrial park near Pudong. However, Western companies still play an important role when it comes to "reaching into the box".

Influence on the working world of the future

The networked interaction of bin picking systems and employees is becoming increasingly important due to the tremendous growth momentum of the robotics industry. "The cooperation of employees and collaborating robots is increasingly being taken into account when planning manufacturing systems," says Carsten Ebenig.

Advances in robotics technology, such as VWH GmbH's bin picking system, are contributing to the increasing use of robots. Among other things, further developments in camera technology are giving bin picking a boost that is also firmly taking hold of other industries, such as factory automation.

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