Robot Highlights from PACK EXPO 2021

In this Take Five video, we turn the spotlight on new robotic technologies from Festo, Honeywell, Universal Robots, and Robotiq showcased at PACK EXPO 2021.


Quick hits:

  • See how Honeywell combines artificial intelligence and machine vision technologies to create an intelligent, robotic depalletizing system.
  • Learn how Festo is helping manufacturers replace pneumatic automation systems with electric automation technologies and how they’re integrating the two technologies for a variety of pick-and-place applications.
  • Find out how Universal Robots’ 10e cobot and Robotiq gripper technologies have been integrated to create a easy-to-use palletizing system.

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Listen to the story here:

   Read the transcript below:

David Greenfield: Welcome to Take Five with Automation World. I'm David Greenfield, director of content at Automation World, and in this episode, we're going to be looking back at some of the automation highlights from PACK EXPO Las Vegas, 2021.

Now the first video we're featuring is from universal robots in Robotiq, where they show how universal robots, UR10e Cobot, works with Robotiq's gripper technology to create a pre-integrated palletizing system.

Nicolas Lauzier: So this is using the new universal robot, UR10, with a increased payload up to 12.5 kilos. Palletizing is a very good application for this increased payload because in this application, we can take full benefits of this 12.5 kilos, but the tool always being down, it's a really convenient and really well designed robot for palletizing application.

A Robotiq palletizing solution. It is integrated in the UR control loop with the UR cap. As you can see here, the different steps to program the palletizing is there. So you have three sections that can be done visually. The first one is the box dimensions, the payload, and we need to set only one single position for the whole process.

The second one is the pallet's configuration. So we have the dimensions of the pallet and we select if we are going to palletize on one side or the other, or the two of them. And finally, we have the box pattern where we are able to visually on the robot teach Pendant program, where the boxes will be located on the pallet and how they will be oriented. So this is all done visually, making it easy for people in the factory to adapt the program to a new product or to a new configuration that they need to produce.

David Greenfield: Now, the next video from Pack Expo 2021 that we're highlighting is a new robotic de-palletizing system from Honeywell. Now the company introduced this new system, at Pack Expo this year, to demonstrate how they've combined robotics with artificial intelligence and 2D and 3D vision systems to quickly and efficiently de-palletize packages from any orientation.

Thomas H. Evans: This is a Honeywell robotic, smart, flexible de-palletizer system that we're launching at PACK EXPO today. This is a mixed SKU pallet that has entered the work cell. We're using a 2D and 3D vision sensor system combined together, for the robots to be able to see each individual package and develop a pick point, to be able to pick the package and take it over to the place conveyor. We've made particular enhancements to this product.

We have been working with our customers, to understand some of the pain points they have in distribution fulfillment, warehouse spacing to be able to do multi picks, address leaning pallets, be able to de-palletize up to eight foot tall pallets, all that has been combined into this system, and we want to be able to operate efficiently, to be able to increase our PPH and the uptime and reliability. In addition to that, there is artificial intelligence and machine-learning within our algorithms, both for the perception side and also for the robot motion controller.

So the robot motion controller can be intelligent, to be able to determine the best path to get the place conveyor, and the quickest path to go back and forth between pick and place.

In addition to that, just like any other traditional artificial intelligence or machine learning perception, we are learning from every pick we are updating and training models. In addition to that, we are training from synthetic data. So that enables us to be able to get to the field quickly, build a general set or model set of perception, and then detail that to each of our customers' products or each one of their operations. So what you're seeing here, we're just operating at 50% speed. We're ideally trying to get with multi-pick, up to 650-750 PPH. Sometimes we go more than that, depending on the operation, depending on the product.

David Greenfield: Now, the final video in this Take Five episode, highlights Festo's combination of pneumatics and electric automation technologies, such as servo motors in different Cartesian robot systems, to perform a variety of material handling applications.

Troy A. Manley: What we're showing here, this is our simplified motion series. This is IO link or IO communication systems, that are designed very specifically to replace any pneumatic applications that you have. It's easy to see that all of the different characteristics and the products that we have, are designed to simplify the opportunities and minimize the need for additional control cabinets. With one simple PLC, the CPXE control in the system, we can simplify and literally go electric automation in the place of any pneumatics.

Sandro Quintero: Here at this one, what we created is a phone display, where you can see also our kinematics, as you can see on the top, this is an H-gantry, right? This H-gantry, all of the actuators there are tube built actuators. You can also see the festo motors mounted on the Z axis, on the X axis, and then the Y axis. If we take a look at the bottom on the control panel, what we're showing here is also the ability of controlling this kinematics, by using festo drives. And in this case, these are EtherCAT Festo drives, but they could also be Profinet drives or EtherNet/IP drives.

We could also do Modbus TCP. So that really opens the door for controlling this, with many of the main PLC brands out there.

Now, here we have another display. This is called FMCP or Festo Motion Control Package, and what you can see here is we're showing a T-gantry, right? Some kinematic, that it's basically designed for peak and place operations. This is a very high speed system, and you're going to see it here in just a second. A couple of highlights here. You can see the end-of-arm tool. We have some suction cups there and you can see how they open and close, how they expand, depending on the parts that they have to pick up. Now, this is very interesting here, because these are just two servo motors, that are driving this kinematic, with just one continuous belt, similar to the previous display.

What we can see here on the bottom, is this is being driven by these two drives, in this case. We have a controller that then can talk to all of these different brands or using these different protocols, like Profinet EtherNet/IP and EtherCAT.

David Greenfield: So I hope you enjoyed this Take Five with Automation World episode, and please keep watching this space for new episodes, to help keep you on top of what's happening in the world of industrial automation.

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