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14 July, 2024

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Automated bin-picker works with any make of robot or gripper

14 June, 2023

The Italian robotics and automation manufacturer Comau has developed a bin-picking technology that can be used with any make of robot, bin or gripper to recognise, locate and grasp up to 40 randomly placed items every minute. The MI.RA Picker uses two high-resolution laser sensors and a central camera, combined with virtual simulation tools and predictive algorithms, to optimise path management and achieve collision-free trajectories, while lowering costs and potential risks.

Comau says that the automated picking system is a cost-effective, relliable way to automate complex bin- and piece-picking operations. It eliminates the need for unsustainable manual sorting activities, improving both productivity and operator well-being.

And because items can be dumped into bins instead of being placed in an orderly manner, the picker system can cut upstream processing times while ensuring a simple logistics flow without needing rigid fixtures or to handle parts individually.

The system combines 3D vision with an intuitive programming interface to deliver “best-in-class” picking precision and efficiency for single or multiple bins, each up to 1m deep and containing unorganised rigid parts whose orientation and arrangement is unpredictable.

The bin-picker is the latest product in Comau’s Machine Inspection Recognition Archetypes (MI.RA) family of hardware-agnostic, intelligent vision systems. It is suitable for the food and beverage, pharmaceutical, plastics, electric/ electronics, metal and machinery, and automotive industries, among others.

“Comau’s ongoing commitment to shaping innovation through advanced automation is seen in our ability to make complex technology more accessible and effective,” says Nicole Clement, head of the company’s advanced automation solutions business. “We believe – based on internal estimates and supporting market research – that the random bin- and piece-picking market could reach $1.2bn by 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of 76% from 2019 to 2025.

Comau’s automated bin-picker can identify and grasp up to 40 randomly oriented items per minute

“In this light, our novel approach to intelligent random bin-picking for machine tending, pick-and-place and kitting operations, among others, will undoubtedly help our customers increase both their process quality and production capacity.”

Comau is a member of the Stellantis group, which also includes the Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Peugeot, Vauxhall, Opel, Jeep and Citroën brands. Headquartered in Turin, Italy, Comau has an global network of five innovation centres, five digital hubs and 12 manufacturing plants in 13 countries, and employs 3,700 people.

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