3D systems today are performing tasks that just a few years ago were beyond the ability of computer-based automation. Machine 3D vision systems are now advancing at lightning speeds and are ahead of the curve when it comes to further enabling robots. In less than a decade, experts in the machine vision field predict that 3D vision will be standard equipment on robots across all fields and applications.
3D Vision Defined:
When using 2D cameras, Z (distance from camera) is typically assumed. This isn’t as effective as parts may move, change size, tip, etc. and the 2D camera may then miscalculate the location. 3D systems allow for a clean part pick-up with known positional data (X, Y, and Z), despite any disruption.
Vision system cameras create an image full of pixels that each has a gray-scale value; this helps to create a pattern or structure in the image data. Specific algorithms then help recognize the image data patterns and assist the camera in finding specific features, ultimately guiding the robot to the part. This will also allow machine vision robots to enter perpendicular to a surface and grip parts more effectively, repeatedly, and even control different parts in any orientation.
Simply put, the additional third dimension (Z) allows the robot to scan, visualize, measure, and perfectly find and control a part in any position.
Benefits of 3D Vision:
-The reason to take a leap and install new technology is that in the long run it costs your company less.
-When using 3D systems, part orientation and position are quickly found which allows the positional information to be quickly accessible by the robot in order to work with a very high degree of accuracy.
-The efficiency of 3D Vision doesn’t stop with speed, it also can greatly aid in product quality control. The 3D vision system’s cameras can 100% certify the part you are sending to the customer; a trait that a human can’t maintain over a extended time period. Ultimately this avoids costly mistakes and is also able to guarantee protection against product returns.
-Robot vision gives integrators freedom from fixturing to locate parts. The vision systems are able to save time and money as you can simply run a different program instead of swapping fixtures.
-Machine vision allows the robot to work in less structured environments, such as pick and placing parts randomly placed on a conveyor, or racking automobile components, and in agricultural and food processing industries. .
-Manual adjustments are no longer necessary as 3D vision allows robots to verify the part with the 3D camera and adjust as needed. This will result in an increase in product quality all while minimizing manual labor.
The computations involved are more complex; however, experts believe the programs are quickly becoming more practical and user friendly. Customer demands for these systems continue to rise because of the amazing flexibility, efficiency, and quality that 3D vision brings.
Best 3D Applications:
3D vision is universal and can add to virtually any application. Leading the way in 3D-vision adoption today: welding, bin picking, packaging, and machine tool loading.
Welding- 3D Vision welding robots are able to adapt and change the welding path when it notices small changes in the arrangement of the components that are being welded.
Bin Picking- Robots have been successful using 3D vision with both structured and random bin picking. The picking tool, sensor, and constraints of the arm are understood to help recognize the accessibility of the part.
Packaging- 3D Vision helps to pick up products that end up in different positions at the end of a conveyor or slide and place them in the correct position in the package.
Palletizing- Robots with vision that constantly handle parts or boxes are able to be aware and flexible to the unexpected shifting and movement.
Loading Machine Tools- Vision adds forgiveness to out-of-location robot placements and minimizes potential machine tool crashes.
Several companies are stepping up to the plate and to create amazing software packages to help further advance your company with 3D Vision Systems.
FANUC iR-Vision helps every robot, from the smallest to the strongest, become capable of seeing and working as precisely as a human worker. It has reliable visual detection, detection of moving parts (visual line tracking), and an AntiDefect Option with quality control completeness. This is a big step for FANUC Robotics in the evolution of technology as it is the first 3D robot-controller integrated system. This eradicates hardware and communication delays and further increases the robot’s awareness of its relative relationships in space. This integrated system also takes just hours to set up.
Cognex launched VisionPro 3D-Locate software and 3D displacement systems, the DS1000 series. Both enable customers to easily adopt 3D machine vision and use it with current inspection steps. VisionPro 3D is not limited to any applications as it works with a number of fixed and mounted robot cameras.
MotoSight 3D CortexVision by Motoman Robotics is an easy-to-integrate, comprehensive, and powerful vision system that simplifies the use of 3D vision in robotic guidance applications. It is ideal for precise part location required for assembly, racking, dispensing, machine loading, product sorting, and welding applications.
eVision Factory 6.5, created by Robotic Vision Technologies, delivers features with more flexibility, employee collaboration and safety, ease of handling parts, reduced downtime, reduced cycle time, cost savings, simplicity and standardization. It can be used on FANUC, KUKA and Motoman.
RoboRealm is an application for use in robotic vision systems that has an easy point and click interface and simplifies the programming to easily experiment with the environment and acquired images to analyze what is necessary to increase your robot’s effectiveness.
Skilligent Robot Vision System is a software component designed specifically for robotic applications which implements powerful object recognition and object tracking algorithms.