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Key Methods of Robotic Vision Technology

The idea of a machine being able to see, interpret, and respond to information based on visual input alone is not just science fiction. Robotic vision technologies have become an integral component to manufacturing, as well as packing and shipping, and continue to grow in other industries as well.

Appropriate lighting is the most significant factor in ensuring that these technologies are working properly, and we’ve compiled a few tips for creating the best lighting solutions for robotic vision systems that help ensure the safety and efficiency of your technology and your team.

Bright Lights

If you’re working with molds and are trying to identify missing material in the mold or product, a short shot can help you out. This is a short burst of bright light that quickly illuminates inconsistencies in a mold from above. This method requires the container of the target object to have a flat top surface; otherwise, what the robot sees would be distorted. Any coarse or rough textures on the top surface of the mold also make the images a little spotty.

Wavelength

On an assembly line for electronics, robotic vision is what helps machines detect if parts are oriented correctly as they pass on down the line so that they’re able to be put together properly. Different colors emit different wavelengths when reflecting light, and you can get equipment that reads the distinctions in wavelengths to quickly determine the variety of materials in your assembly line. This could be the difference between a part being put in with the correct orientation or not.

Nondiffused Light

When it comes to glass or other transparent products, especially when they’re blazing past employees on an assembly line, small cracks or fractures in the material can be difficult to detect with the naked eye. Nondiffused light provides an efficient solution, as it essentially shows up on these robotic vision screens as a bright accent in a very dark image—any brightness highlights the imperfection.

Diffuse Light

Your teacher in grade school may have challenged you to estimate how many marbles were in the prize jar, but manufacturing a jar with an exact amount of marbles inside requires far more precision and much less guesswork. Using diffuse light in robotic vision technology is essentially bathing the object in light from every direction to remove any shadow. The image created from this technique can be quickly assessed for missing volume content.

Vision technologies rely heavily on light to produce accurate images, so choosing the right lighting for your workcell is important. If you are considering integrating vision technology into your plant processes and aren’t sure where to start, send us an email at contact-us@conceptsystemsinc.com.

What you should know about Robotic Vision Technology

“Robotic vision” is among the latest innovations in robotic and automation technology. Essentially, robot vision is a sophisticated technology that helps a robot, usually an automated robot, better identify things, navigate, find objects, inspect, and handle parts or bits before an application is performed.
Robot vision usually uses a series of carefully-calibrated algorithms, calibration, and even temperature detection sensors that all have a varying range of complexity and application. Just as technology rapidly accelerates in sophistication, robotic vision is constantly improving and moving in smoother directions.
This innovative, yet simple technology can cut operation costs and create a straightforward solution for all types of automation or robotic needs. Robots working side by side, when fitted with robotic vision technology, won’t collide with each other. There is also enhanced safety for human workers, as the robots will be able to “see” any workers who are in the way.
Robots fitted with robotic vision can perform a series of different tasks:

  • Measuring
  • Reading barcodes and scanners
  • Engine part inspection
  • Packaging inspection
  • Wood quality inspection
  • Surface inspection
  • Guidance and checking orientation of components and pieces
  • Inspecting for defects

The process of robotic vison works in two simple steps:

  1. Imaging: The robot uses its vision technology to do its scanning or “seeing.” It can scan two-dimensional things like line scanning and barcode scanning, as well as 3D imaging and X-ray imaging for inspection purposes.
  2. Image Processing: After detecting the object or image, the robot processes it, or “thinks about it.” For instance, it finds and detects edges, the presence of an obstruction, counts pixels, discovers and manipulates objects according to its programming, recognizes patterns, and processes the imagery according to its programming.

Depending on this process and the algorithm used to govern the actions of the robot, a certain part will be assembled, a default in a product may be detected, a product may be scanned and recognized, etc. Robotic vision technology can be applied practically as far as you can imagine, and is already being used in a series of industries, including automotive, industrial, manufacturing, food and product packaging, and parts assembly.
Concept Systems has the capabilities to integrate robotic vision technology, retrofit old robots with newer control systems, provide innovative solutions to your automation and robotic technology, and manage all aspects of the conception and integration.
Contact us to learn more about our planning and integration services! We’re ready to talk about your next project!

Robotics Vision Technologies in the Real World

Robotic vision technology is a refined, safe, and industrious way for businesses to identify parts, and navigate through inventory with a robust efficiency that human workers could never achieve. Vision-guided robots will typically locate a part and adjust it for robotic usage. These robots often replace multiple mechanical tools, which frees up space and reduces operating costs.
More and more companies like Amazon and Best Buy are opting for robotic vision technology because of the device’s ability to increase productivity and cut costs. Robots can quickly move through these ecommerce companies’ massive warehouses, monitor critical sales data over time, and speak multiple languages.
The International Federation of Robotics estimates that over 400 robots will serve in supermarkets, stores, and museums by 2017. As technology continues to advance, these robots are more advanced and sophisticated than ever. They’re faster, and more affordable, making vision robots the predicted future of the service industry.
At Concept Systems, we’ve provided our robotics vision technology for various large scale projects, including:
Reducing labor costs for Vestcom, a company that serves more than 70% of retail food, drug, and mass merchants in The United States.

  • Our vision robots helped Vestcom hang shelf tags for weekly price change activities in a quick, cost-effective manner. This task would have taken days for a group of people, or even smaller machines, to do. A single robot was used to pick up printed labels and stack them on discharge conveyors. The best part about Concept’s robot was the fact that it seamlessly integrated with Vestcom’s existing laminator control system.

Giving the cake decorators at Dawn Foods, a food retailer that sells cakes to large supermarket chains, an intricate “edge.”

  • Retailers requested more intricate decorations on the cakes, and this usually requires time-consuming handwork. There were also complaints about the quality of decorations. Concept Systems’ vision robots helped Dawn Foods create high-quality, symmetrical, and intricate designs with 3-D scanners that use laser triangulation to create an image of each cake. This allowed the robots to know the exact dimensions of the cake so every design could be perfect.

Creating profitability by reducing damage costs for a coffee roasting company that was continuously experiencing ripped bags.

  • The coffee roaster’s robot technology was older and kept ripping the bags. As a result, pounds upon pounds of beans were spilled on the floor, which wasted a significant amount of money for the roasting company. The inefficient robot estimated to cost the company 100,000 pounds of wasted beans each year. Concept Systems’ robots were brought to upgrade the system, making it efficient, safe, and profitable. A control system with advanced 3D vision and PC software was used to precisely locate the position of each tier of bags and allow the robot to move directly to each bag and pick it up.