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Twin-robot bin-picker achieves ‘record’ 2,700 picks an hour

27 June, 2023

The German vacuum technology specialist Schmalz claims to have set a new speed record for automated bin-picking using a pair of Scara robots that were able to perform 2,700 picks per hour. For this pilot application, Schmalz worked with the German systems integrator Körber to integrate a robot cell into an existing logistics installation at Schmalz’s headquarters.

The robots work simultaneously and can change their grippers within a second, depending on whether they are handling boxes, vials or bags. Two 3D cameras inspect the box after each pick. Software analyses this input, calculates and controls the next grip. Several gripping algorithms operate in parallel to achieve the best picking performance. The system uses five-axis grippers that can reach into all corners of a crate.

The application uses an open operating system called ivOS. Schmalz has developed a “kit” based on this OS that optimises the interaction between grippers, robots, cameras and picking software. The kit connects the various software and hardware components so that the robotic cells see and grip faster, as well as communicating with higher-level systems.

The kit offers suppliers of robotic cells – typically, machine-builders or systems integrators – a “plug-and-work” technology that can be integrated rapidly into any bin-picking application. The system is flexible and open, allowing users to adapt it to customer-specific requirements. The package includes CAD data, circuit diagrams, technical layouts and more.

Schmalz says its automated bin-picking system can perform 2,700 picks an hour

By integrating appropriate interfaces, communications can be established with warehouse management systems, and with various protocols, to exchange data in real time, for example. In addition to the bin-picking application, Schmalz is working on other picking technologies.

For the pilot application, Schmalz worked with supply chain experts from Körber to achieve a conveyor connection between the robotic picking cell and the existing logistics system, as well as integrating the cell into the site's material flow control software. Schmalz says its plans to continue working closely with Körber as a sales and integration partner for bin-picking applications.

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