Smart device that makes it able to pick and place billets and other axisymmetric parts wherever you want
- Usable for all kind of pick-and-place robots
- Complete integration possible in only 1 day
- Picket-rate of 95% and higher
- Selling globally in +40 countries
In a nutshell
Production companies that have one simple product can benefit tremendously from the automatization of processes. Where other systems ask for weeks of adjustments before they can be used, Pickit can install its robot and 3D vision system within a day and have you up and running. The engineers and designers of Comate came up with an ingenious gripper system that is compatible with every robot and can pick and place pieces wherever you want.
Robot vision made easy
We’ve all tried the arcade claw crane game. It always seems easier to catch one of those fluffy animals than it actually is. Well, it’s the same thing with bin picking.
The difficulty lays in the different orientations and overlapping arrangements they might have. Often billets slightly move when lifting them, which is why you can never predict with a 100% certainty how to pick up each individual billet, making automatization less evident than it might seem.
To deal with this uncertainty you have two options: make your system as precise as possible – but in this case, you would need a personalized system for every application, which is not ideal or at least a very expensive choice – or make your robot compliant for all of the anomalies that can occur.
What was Pickit looking for?
Pickit developed and perfected a 3D vision system – a camera system that maps the exact position of each billet. Pickit is integrated with hundreds of companies worldwide and integrates with major industrial and collaborative robot brands.
To reach the full potential of the powerful and reliable 3D vision system, Pickit was in need of a solution that was refined and flexible but that could also withstand the harsh conditions of the industry like higher temperatures and dusty environments. Furthermore, the solution needed to be ready to use and applicable in many circumstances and not something that had to be completely rebuild or redesigned when using another robot.
This challenge had Comate written all over it. Our engineers and designers put their heads together with Pickit’s application specialists and came up with an ingenious ‘gripper’ that can be configured to match with all kind of picking robots. This gripper was developed to pick up billets in all orientations, have just enough compliance while still being robust for the harsh, industrial environment the robot has to work in.
Comate had one clear goal: to build an attachment for the 3D vision system that could meet the specific requirements for billet picking applications. The Comate engineers focused on the mechanics and industrialization and had to make sure the machine could run for months without losing accuracy.
Along the way, the Comate team stumbled upon certain challenges that were important to tackle. While the mechanics and electronics of the system were top priorities, the usability and styling of the ‘gripper’ that they came up with, were important as well. The machine would end up in places where it could be hit with bricks or suffer other harsh impacts. An industrial look – to convince the end clients of its robustness – and a material choice that could survive the impact of bricks, dust or other materials were important factors to keep in mind during the development process.
Another challenge was to find out the perfect balance in compliance as the head of the gripper needed to be flexible enough to pick up a billet that doesn’t always have a perfect shape or orientation – and on the other hand the device could not be over-flexible to avoid too much movement or slack during the billet picking which would result in a gripper that would be very quickly worn out. An easily adjustable gripper with no rigid rotation axis, but with a smart system that allowed the head to move in a smooth yet robust way, was what they wanted to achieve.
After many iterations, they found the perfect compliance-level considering the gripper’s fitting safety margin and gravity-point and integrated this in a well-equipped hardware solution. Thanks to these innovations, the gripper is able to achieve a picket rate of 95% or higher.