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Siemens, UR and Zivid combine to solve logistics issues

28 March, 2024

UPDATED: Siemens, Universal Robots (UR) and the Norwegian machine vision specialist Zivid have joined forces with Mecalux, the Spanish specialist in automated warehouses, to create a “groundbreaking” technology that streamlines warehouse automation and solves intralogistics fulfilment challenges. The technology brings together a long-reach UR20 cobot, a Zivid 2+ M130 camera – said to be the first 3D sensor capable of imaging anything, including transparent and translucent items – and Siemens’ Simatic Robot Pick AI – pre-trained, deep learning-based vision software that allows robots to perform tasks that previously had to be performed by hand.

The combined technologies are said to offer “a significant leap in solving the complex challenges faced by the logistics and e-commerce sectors”. The system has been developed to provide a reliable way of picking large quantities and varieties of SKUs (stock-keeping units), regardless of their shape, size, opacity or transparency.

The picking technology, developed at Mecalux’s technology centre in Barcelona, is designed to operate 24/7 and execute up to 1,000 picks per hour. It uses AI functions integrated into a Siemens Simatic S7-1500 PLC with a TM-MFP module. A camera positioned above the picking box captures a 3D image of the goods to prepare the orders.

“The AI algorithm has been pre-trained with millions of items to offer out-of-the-box performance,” explains José Ramón Castro, CEO of Siemens Digital Industries in Spain. “It’s able to make decisions in milliseconds on robust, collision-free picking positions for products presented completely arbitrarily. It doesn’t need to know the 3D model of the item in question beforehand. The advanced AI algorithm acts as the brain, enabling the smart picking process.”

Once the item has been selected, the cobot deposits it precisely in the picking box, making the most of the available space. Mecalux has devised an algorithm to ensure that the cobot places items in the best location. The picking system can change its gripping system automatically depending on the type of goods being handled.

Mecalux has developed two versions of the picking system: one uses a cobot programmed to share its workspace safely with human operators; the other is a system that works autonomously in high-performance pick stations.

“There is a huge potential and significant demand for automation in fulfilment centres and the e-commerce industry,” says Daniel Friedman, UR’s global director of strategic partnerships. “The collaboration with Siemens and Zivid signals our continued push into connecting our robot platform to AI technologies and is further testament to our dedication to delivering automation for anyone, anywhere.”

The cobot-based technology developed by Universal Robots, Siemens, Zivid and Mecalux is intended to solve automation problems in warehouses and fulfilment centres.

“By combining our 3D vision solution with Siemens and UR, we offer a robust solution that addresses the evolving needs of the logistics and e-commerce sectors,” adds Zivid product marketing engineer, Amy Landau. “Our collaboration opens new possibilities for the automation of reliable order picking, that can really be made accessible to anyone.”

Siemens, UR and Zivid will be demonstrating the technology at the Hannover Messe in April.

Universal Robots:  Twitter  LinkedIn  Facebook

Siemens:  Twitter  LinkedIn  Facebook

ZividX  LinkedIn  Facebook

MecaluxX  LinkedIn  Facebook 

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