+Vantage Corporation is always in search of the latest technology to benefit your automation and integration solutions, and today we want to discuss the immense benefits of 3D vision systems for robotic bin picking. Robotic part handling has long been a part of our portfolio, but what about when pieces aren’t neatly staged to move from one cell to another? Similar to how intelligent vision systems provide complete 3D mapping of structures for inspection steps, this same technology, in combination with machine learning algorithms, empowers your bin picking technology to move faster and more accurately than ever before.
How Does 3D Vision Work?
As their name suggests, 3D vision allows your industrial robots to “see” the parts in front of them. With systems from our partners like Keyence, 4 cameras in parallax with a central projector produce an image free from blind spots, and the offset of the cameras allows the machine learning algorithms behind the camera to extrapolate depth as well as distance along the 2D plane. This gives your system the ability to identify parts throughout the depth of the pallet rather than just along the top surface. Not only are parts identified, but their orientation within their container is also determined, feeding back into an intelligent path planning system (similar to CAM software), to ensure the robot does not collide with the container or other parts it doesn’t want to interact with. Our partners at FANUC have taken 3D vision and applied it across their entire line of iRVision systems, with applications ranging from palletizing, depalletizing, bin picking, and part orientation for further machining
Why Use 3D Vision?
Similar to most any automation, 3D vision brings efficiency gains to your material handling processes and inspection processes. 3D vision for robotic bin picking unlocks new degrees of efficiency, accuracy and reliability. These systems are not just for bin picking in isolation, but also provide valuable services to other elements of material handling, including depalletizing assets of varying size of weight, which requires an intelligent system that can adapt to varying geometry on the fly. Similarly for bin picking, a bin of assorted parts can be difficult for a traditional hard coded system to resolve, which is why modern picking is founded on the integration of AI and Deep Learning.
The Power of AI
3D vision is inherently tied to deep learning and artificial intelligence, two pillars of Industry 4.0. While 3D vision allows your robotic systems to identify non-standard parts in 3D space, this ability is limited if the system cannot intuitively change its path and placement as the process is underway. AI “sees” through the vision system, using deep learning based techniques like point cloud recognition engines or convolutional neural networks to identify every item in the bin and then develop a unique set of pathing and grip instructions for each item, removing concerns about over pressure or collision interference. These systems are already being put to effective use in produce handling, where each unit, even when of the same variety of fruit or vegetable, varies in shape. The benefits of AI is that these algorithms learn from themselves, and so become more accurate as they are exposed to more parts, creating self optimizing systems that can reach 99% accuracy at rates of 1400 picks per hour.
The +Vantage Advantage
At +Vantage, we’re ideally positioned to be your single source system integrator for AI powered bin picking solutions. Our material handling partners at Fanuc, Motoman, Epson and more give us access to the latest robotics technology, while our deep partnership with vision system providers like LMI, Keyence, Cognex, and others ensures we provide you with the latest in deep learning backed vision systems. Every +Vantage system comes complete with the complete technical drawing package and all backend documentation, giving you full ownership of your system, and in concert with our on the ground support, sets you up for success.
Want to learn more or are you ready to get started on your bin picking system? Contact us today so our dedicated engineering team can get back to you!