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autopick - The Picking Robot by psb

For some years now, we have been experiencing a robotics hype in intralogistics in trade journals and at trade fairs. Mostly, these are classic six-axis jointed-arm robots, which are looking for their way from production to logistics. The goal: fully automated small parts picking. The main driver here is the labor shortage.

Used products:controlN30 | N35

The big challenge in automated picking is not a technical component such as the robot or the gripper, but the design of an economical overall process. Since robots can only handle a portion of the items in each assortment, this creates two parallel streams in the flow of goods and thus challenges in terms of flow of goods, inventories, synchronization and consolidation.

In 2020, we addressed this challenge by developing the autopick. The system, a fully automated solution for single item picking, consists of the core components vision, robot, gripper as well as the IT system of the overall system.

The vision system detects grippable surfaces on the objects in the source bin and calculates gripping points and collision-free paths for the robot. As a result, the robot can grip unknown products made of bulk material with vacuum cups and gently deposit them in the target bin in the area with the lowest filling. No teaching of individual products is necessary.

The multifunctional gripper can be individually designed for a large variety of articles with a wide range of packaging units. The system learns over time which of the different grips works best for each item.

The achievable picking performance for a process-safe system is highly dependent on the characteristics of the gripping objects and ranges between 300 and 500 parts per hour. In summer 2020, the autopick test setup was completed in the psb technology field, where we continue to develop the system, and carry out gripping tests with customer articles.

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