Robotics Case Studies
by Paula Kyle
Intensive manual labor required to depalletize bags of seed.
Design of a turnkey system to automated the process of depalletizing various sizes and weights of bags of seed. With this system the robot lifts up to three bags at a time. (No one in the industry was moving more than one bag of this size at a time.) Throughput is 20 bags per minute. With vision the robot is able to handle even the most irregular pallet load, no matter how skewed the bags are, with an uptime of better than 95%. This system features:
- A compact camera which helps direct the robot to the precise location of the bags.
- Each pickup head is positioned on a spring mounted, floating housing that can adjust to minor differences in the height of each bag.
- Model M410-IWX heavy duty, four axis robot with RJ-2 controller from Fanuc robotics.
- SmartImage Sensor vision system from DVT.
- Design, integration and programming from Automated Concepts, Inc.
Description of Process:
The operator loads a pallet of bags to be depalletized on the inbound conveyor. The conveyor indexes the pallet to the depalletizing position. Utilizing a sensor on the arm the robot searches for the Z-height of the pallet. The robot transfers this information to the vision system which allow the system to know where to begin its focus. The vision system acquires the image of the layer of bags, determines the X-Y coordinates of the bags, and transfers the information to the robot. The robot calculates the X-Y data to determine if the bags are close enough to pick up 3 a time. The robot picks up the bags utilizing a custom design vacuum system, and drops them individually on an outbound conveyor. Once all of the bags have been removed from the pallet, the robot picks up the pallet gipper, picks up the empty pallet, and places it on an employ pallet stand.