Vision Guided Robots
Vision guided robots (VGR) is a term used to describe industrial robots that have been integrated with a robotic vision system. Vision guided robots feature additional intelligence with the sense of sight provided through specialty cameras. Cameras provide visual feedback to industrial robots, allowing them to handle scenarios that are unpredictable such as sudden part or location changes. With vision the FANUC M-20ia can identify specific parts when several different part types have been mixed together. As the use of industrial robots has expanded so has the complexity of robotic applications, making vision guided robots necessary for successful robotic automation. Robotic vision systems have become the most common form of robotic technology integrated with industrial robots.
Industrial robots excel at tasks that are predictable and involve high repetition, but there can be many variables involved with manufacturing. Those automating more complex manufacturing processes, looking for more autonomy from their articulated robot, or have some degree of randomization in their application should consider a vision guided robot for automation. Vision systems enhance the performance of industrial robots. Vision guided robots are able to process changes during operation that otherwise would result in stopping operation for reprogramming.
There are many different third-party companies specializing in robotic vision systems. However, many of the major robotic manufacturers have developed in-house systems. FANUC’s iRVision is compatible with all FANUC robots, making it easier for customers to integrate a vision system with a FANUC robot. Integrating the FANUC Lr Mate 200id with iRVision turns it into a vision guided robot. Yaskawa Motoman has also developed their own vision system called MotoSight. MotoSight can be integrated with any Yaskawa Motoman robot including the Yaskawa MH12 and the MH180.
Vision guided robots can be integrated with either a 2D or 3D camera. 2D cameras are best for applications that still involve some structure such as parts organized in a pattern. 3D cameras are required when an application is completely randomized. This may include parts located in different locations, mixtures of different part types, or the changing of part orientations. Vision guided robots may use one or multiple cameras for visual feedback. The cameras may be mounted directly to the six axis robot or mounted to a robotic workcell. Other components of a robotic vision system include software, lights, and sensors.
There are many applications that can benefit from automation with a vision guided robot. The most common include robotic pick and place, automated assembly, material removal, automated palletizing, material handling, welding automation, and inspection. Vision guided robots are not limited to just those applications as they can be used for any process in which variables are not constant.
Vision guided robots operate with extreme accuracy due to the aid of visual guidance. Vision guided robots reduce errors and rework resulting in higher productivity and better product quality. They are able to adapt to changes in real time, helping to reduce cycle times by avoiding programming delays. Vision guided robots are more autonomous with the ability to process changes on their own, which is ideal for those looking to transition to a lights-out manufacturing method.