Success story involving a practical application at Gestamp’s German site in Haynrode

The company has a great deal of confidence in our cirrus3D and eyesberg3D technology.

The people at Gestamp use the technology associated with our cirrus3D series in a wide range of applications such as “bin picking” to feed welding machines, picking up metal blanks to feed laser cutting machines, and a host of other applications.

The latest application uses our new cirrus1600 as part of a solution where a robot removes sheet metal parts from a conveyor belt and places them in a rack.

The press manufactures both a left and a right component at the same time with dimensions of up to 2,000 x 1,600 mm. These are then taken away on the conveyor belt and each recorded by one of our two cirrus1600 scanners, before being removed by two robots from ABB’s IRB6650S series (one for each component) and distributed across the various racks.

Both parts are moved with the help of a conveyor belt, which offers neither accurate timing nor any real precision from a conveying perspective. This is why the “stop-and-go method” is used instead of transport tracking.

When the two components enter in the pick-up zone, our cirrus1600 scans an area of 1,600 x 1,200 mm inside a second. There is no need here for the scanner to scan the entire component, since the partial section with a width of 1,200 mm and length of 1,600 mm is sufficient to localize. In less than a second our cirrus1600 scanners, combined with eyesberg3D software, identify the two components on the conveyor belt. At the same time, the software checks whether the gripper is able to remove the two components from the conveyor belt without colliding with anything, based on the grip position specified, before the robot arm is moved. If the percentage match between the scanned point cloud and the CAD model is too low, the system will ignore the component, which will continue to be transported down the conveyor belt until it reaches the end and then be checked for faults separately. The idea is to avoid collisions when the robot picks things up.

There is an option to fit the robot with an additional cirrus800 with a view to identifying the precise position of the new container replacing the full one (this process only needs to be performed after a full rack has been replaced with an empty one), as well as preventing potential collisions between the component, gripper, and rack.

This “on-board scanner” is also used when placing components on columns, on racks, and in compartments. When components are stacked into columns, these gradually tend to lean to one side, whereby the cirrus 800 system scans all the “N” parts in order to ascertain the exact position of the last component and adjust the drop-off position of the next part. In other words, the drop-off position is adjusted to suit the natural shape of the columns.

It is important to bear in mind that our scanner generates a point cloud made up of 3D points – thereby generating a mathematical and geometrical shape for components – which means the component’s color plays no significant role in the identification process. This matters, because there is no contrast between component and conveyor belt during punching or hot embossing, and the color of the component may vary here. Where there are markings on the component, the belt on the conveyor is made from iron and can take on many different colors as temperatures change. And for applications where sufficient contrast between component and conveyor belt cannot be guaranteed, our system with cirrus3D offers a robust solution.

With a view to achieving the cycle times required for the production process, the precise positioning of components takes place in “masked” time when the robot is outside the scanner’s field of view – namely while the component is being positioned on the rack – which means robot and scanner can operate in parallel. The gripper on the robot has been specially developed for applications involving parts for hot embossing and for components at temperatures in excess of 200°C.

This “bin picking technology”, developed more than 10 years ago by us at Visio Nerf and continuously refined since, allows our client Gestamp to enjoy reliable and error-free operation at its production lines. Together, we have been able to increase productivity significantly over the years – while reducing the risk of injury to employees through ergonomically unfavorable work processes to a minimum – and thereby make a significant contribution toward securing the future of Haynrode as a production site.

End client: Gestamp, Haynrode site
Systems integrator: Ribinerf S.L.
Robot: ABB, IRB 6650S
Image processing: VISIO NERF, cirrus1600
Cycle time: 10 seconds for two parts
Start of production for system: December 2016