Robots with sight

by Charlotte Atchley
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Robots may be moving up on the production line and doing more delicate work, but these tasks would only be possible with the aid of vision systems. While robotics can move pans, lids and cases around without sight, activities such as scoring, inspection and alignment all require the robot to be able to see the product being handled.

“This type of robot is dependent on a vision system” said Terry Bartsch, vice-president, sales, Shaffer, a Bundy Baking Solution, Urbana, OH. “The vision system is what feeds information to the robot about the product orientation and the quality parameters.”  Shaffer’s Bun-PAQ robotic system aligns, orients, balances cluster buns as they approach the packaging line.  The robot can even do quality inspection with a high definition, color camera.  “The vision system can detect color and shape irregularities and tell the robot to reject a particular cluster.”

Colonial Heights, VA-based BluePrint Automation’s vision-guided robotics can pick multiple lanes of un-oriented product to be placed in cartons, trays, cases, flowwrappers and cartoners. The vision on the robots improves accuracy, flexibility and throughput while offering the labor saving benefits of robotics.

Katana Scoring from ABI, Vaughan, ON, also depends on a complex vision system, according to Alex Kuperman, co-founder and president of the company. “The vision tools allow Katana to determine the position, orientation and topography of each product,” he said. This ensures that the robot scores each product correctly, according to its programming.
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