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.
Comate developed a set of different grippers, such as suctions for smaller non-magnetic billets. The product line was later expanded with the launch of a big brother, that could pick and place objects of +50kg. Proved and tested by the engineers of Comate – who loved proving the strength of the robot by hanging on the gripper.
The best thing about this gripper system is that it always works. Your robot needs to be compliant for all possible anomalies, and that’s exactly what the engineers of Comate prototyped, perfected, and industrialized. They were able to make a gripper that can be integrated with so many different kind of robots.
Furthermore the gripper itself, which consists of different parts that are able to move in different directions, is made to be resistant to harsh conditions like dusty air particles and heavy impact.
Pick and place
Where other systems often ask for weeks of adjustments to work with the specific billets before they can be used, Pickit can install its gripper, integrate its 3D vision system and have you up and running in no more than a day. The robust system can adjust easily to whatever billets it gets in front of it. A major competitive advantage, since no competitor is as easily deployable.
Production companies that have one simple product can benefit tremendously from the automatization of certain processes, reducing costs and time-consuming tasks. Pickit’s system can offer reliable bin picking, pick and place, depalletizing, or part localizing. Higher durability, lower maintenance, less noise and space saving are advantages resulting from using the new billet picker.
“For automation engineers that need the shortest time to a reliable solution, we will offer them the blueprints and parts of this solution so they don’t have to start from square one but can already see the finish when they get started with our products”, says Peter Soetens, CEO at Pickit.
Pickit received 2.5 million euros of growth capital from internationally renowned Belgian investors like Urbain Vandeurzen and PMV and is selling globally in +40 countries. “The ambition is to create easy-to-use tools. Even though we probably have the easiest 3D vision product on the market today, we want to take it to the next level”.
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