Industrial robot technology has advanced steadily from its start in the 1970’s, with evolutionary progress in characteristics like payload capacity, freedom of movement, and tooling applications. Recently, revolutionary advancements in robot vision have emerged. Robots that can see have begun to change how robot users do business.
Robot vision can take several different forms and has numerous applications for all industries, including the automotive industry. Mobile robots can use magnetic sensors to guide themselves around a factory floor, following a pre-set track of magnetic guides attached to the floor or wall. Robots performing pick-and-place operations can now be fitted with specialized cameras programmed to recognize specific shapes on a passing conveyor. Once a programmed shape is recognized, laser or ultrasonic sensors allow the robots to accurately judge distance to quickly handle objects while not running into other robots or equipment.
Applications for vision in automotive robots are abundant. Mobile robots can move autonomously around a factory floor, guided by magnetic vision, reducing or eliminating the need for bulky and expensive conveyors or positioning equipment. Two or three-dimensional cameras enable robots to pick a specific assigned object out of a group of many different objects. This seemingly simple ability has a significant impact for factories that can do away with the need to separate different parts onto different conveyors, thereby reducing the space needed to produce multiple parts of a vehicle. Already versatile robots like the FANUC R2000ia can be taken to an even higher level of utility when equipped with a FANUC V500ia 3DL laser vision system. Camera-equipped vision robots can also inspect automotive objects they are handling, welding, polishing, or grinding. Using robot vision for quality control allows nearly every unit of a product to be inspected, as opposed to traditional methods of manually inspecting only small batches of a product. Automotive robot vision applied to quality control cuts cost by reducing rejected parts and material and saves expensive human labor from having to manually inspect a product.
If you are interested in automotive vision robots, contact RobotWorx by calling 740-251-4312 to find out what it would take to integrate one on your factory floor.