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A CASE STUDY: VISION-ROBOTICS

Dawn Foods outside Atlanta makes and decorates cakes that it sells to large supermarket chains. Responding to these retailers’ requests for more intricate decoration on the cakes usually required handwork. The company was also getting complaints about the quality of some decorations. Dawn called on Concept Systems to solve these problems while retaining their existing robots.

the-pointPROJECT DETAILS

Client: Dawn Foods

ROI: 8 months

Project duration: 5 months

Team
Client: 1 engineer, 1 plant manager
Concept Systems: 1 engineer

Concept Systems’ time on site: 5 days

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The problem

Dawn Foods’ cake-decorating operation used robots to apply decorative frosting, such as dollops or borders. The robot determined where to put the frosting based on a 2-D image of each cake. The robots had to simply assume the cake was whatever height the operator specified. But the true height of each cake varies. If it’s off by as little as an eighth of an inch, decorations could be distorted. Dawn was getting some complaints from customers, and it was only able to do some requested decorations manually.

The solution

Concept Systems retrofitted the existing Fanuc Robots with Hermary SL1880 3-D scanners that use laser triangulation to create a three-dimensional image of each individual cake. So the robots now know not only the actual height of each cake but also the nuances of shape. Concept Systems reprogrammed the robots to use this new information. Additionally, new touch screen user interfaces are easier to use and reduced training time.

The results

Dawn Foods improved the quality of its decorations and was able to create more intricate automated frosting designs. It is also possible for robots to apply a border of frosting around the bottom of the cake, which previously had to be done manually. Dawn Foods earned back its investment in the project in about eight months.

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