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Machine vision camera gives robots human eyesight

Home Engineering Electronic - Instrumentation & Control Machine vision camera gives robots human eyesight

SICK Automation, a producer of sensor automation solutions, now offers local industries a 3D machine vision camera that enables automated management of products or goods in any factory or warehouse environment.

Called the Visionary-S CX, it integrates with robotic handling systems –  like depalletisation and picking systems – or quality control solutions. This, the company said in a statement, enables the “real-time identification, picking, and selection of goods accurately and quickly for highly optimised warehouse or production operations”.

It added that the rugged camera can “see” both colour and depth, as well as dimensions, even in environments with low ambient light. “This means it recognises items and objects reliably, giving it the ability to identify and select individual products in densely packed boxes, for example.”

It also features a high recording speed, making it effective in high-speed applications.

“It integrates easily into existing systems using system integration (SI) software, to enable prompt optimisation. The easily configurable input and output functionality of the Visionary-S CX makes it versatile and flexible.”

Grant Joyce, Managing Director, SICK Automation Southern Africa said robotic carton handling or quality control packaging systems were previously limited by 2D technology.

A robot could be programmed to pick or select an item, that was positioned at specific position-coordinates on a pallet, a table, or conveyor belt. If the item was not in that exact location (or not positioned accurately, at the optimal height or depth) the system failed.

“The Visionary-S CX, essentially gives the robotic system human vision that identifies target items and understands where these are,” Joyce said.

The solution was recently applied in the Belgium-based warehouse of a pharmaceutical company, where it enabled the system to detect cartons at a rate of 2,000 per hour and de-palletise them rapidly.

As a result, said Joyce, the company was able to meet high demand for its products across Europe.

“Through collaboration with our SI partners, we are able to build complete application solutions such as this for customers in southern Africa,” he said, adding that it is easy to install, programme and commission, and priced competitively for the local market.

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