Sortimat meets the requirements for reliable bin picking using a modular robotised concept
Sortimat, based in Winnenden in Germany, has extensive expertise in feeder solutions. Its unique "Sortimat" feeding system comprises standard modular components such as a hopper, bowl feeder, belt feeder and a MOTOMAN MH5F robot equipped with a servo controlled gripper and vision system. The system offers a compact and low maintenance solution that can be utilised for a wide range of picking and feeding applications.
Sortimat versus “bin picking” applications
The innovative feeder system is currently focused on applications in the automotive industry, but applications in the medical and other industries are also conceivable. “With the Sortimat, we are able to offer a reliable solution for a wide range of different feeder tasks with an output of up to 40 parts per minute and a maximum work piece weight of 5 kg. This is not only considerably faster than ‘bin picking’ solutions, but is also has far greater availability,” says Olaf Klink, General Manager Sortimat Feeder Technology. In many cases, bin picking solutions, i.e. systems that separate randomly presented objects by means of robots fitted with vision systems, fail to achieve the required output. This is due to the fact that they are often too slow as the high degree of complexity can cause numerous potential interference factors.
Guaranteed process reliability and output
The parts are transferred from a hopper into a simple bowl feeder for rough separation and then onto a conveyor belt for removal. It is perfectly adequate for the parts to be just roughly aligned and shifted from an undefined 3D position to an ordered 2D plane. The robot takes care of everything else. The 6-axis MOTOMAN MH5F robot removes the separated parts from the conveyor and places them in the desired position and alignment. Apart from simple solutions with a clearly defined pickup position, a stationary image processing system is used in most cases. A Cognex vision system provides the robot with the exact coordinates of the part to be gripped. The MOTOMAN MH5F robot offers the advantage of a standard vision system interface.
The need for a fast 6-axis robot with high availability
The decision to opt for a 6-axis MOTOMAN robot from YASKAWA was well founded. Olaf Klink comments: “We wanted a very fast, compact and reliable 6-axis robot with a large reach. After careful evaluation of different robots from different manufacturers, we opted for the MH5F as it totally met our requirements". The robot has a decisive influence not only on the maximum output rate and availability, but also on the degree of flexibility that can be achieved by the overall system. “With a payload capacity of 5 kg and a reach of over 700 mm, the MH5F covers our full range of potential applications. Furthermore, its closed, compact structure enables simple integration with a minimal footprint.” says Klink.
For feeder solutions in the medical or pharmaceutical industry, Sortimat utilises a brand new MOTOMAN robot, the MH3BM. This small 6-axis robot has a payload of 3 kg and and has been designed specifically for applications in these sectors meeting the specifications of cleanroom class ISO 5.
The range of basic system functions of the Sortimat, such as buffering, pre-separation, identification, orientation, handling and placing of parts, can be expanded, if requested by the customer. This includes recognition of good parts and rejects allowing the Sortimat to increase customer expectations even further.