Vision Systems keep a watchful eye on robot applications

At TM Robotics we are seeing an increasing number of robot applications that involve a vision system to either inspect a product or to guide the robot to the pick location when the product being handled cannot be fed to a known, fixed position. We have also supplied robots for systems where the robot is vision guided to both the pick and place position and sometimes the application involves both inspection and vision guiding.

Fortunately, the power of current vision systems and speed of communications between the vision and robot controllers means that applications requiring both inspection and robot guiding can often be handled by the same vision processor.

The demand for ever more inspection is not so surprising as manufacturing companies strive for top quality ratings and those who are not so focussed on quality are being driven there by their customers and competitors. The increasing use of vision guiding is purely down to economics. In common with most other products sectors, robot manufacturers are continually looking at ways of producing lower cost products without degrading performance. At TM Robotics we have been especially pleased with TOSHIBA MACHINE’s developments that have recently given us new lightweight, lower-cost ranges of both SCARA and 6 axis robots.

As the market for vision systems has matured vision supplier are also able to offer more cost-effective, high-performance products. The result of two technology areas both offering OEMs and Systems Integrators lower-cost, high-performance products is increasingly making this approach more cost-effective than designing, developing and testing custom mechanism to feed and accurately align products ready for picking.

As standard, TOSHIBA MACHINE robot controllers include all the elements for a robot guided system, including ‘conveyor tracking’ to pick downstream, on the move. Our EOM and Systems integrator partners have developed applications with TOSHIBA MACHINE robots working alongside all the major vision manufacturers and a number of the smaller, vertical market and application specific manufacturers.