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New robots and vision systems emphasize ease of use.

New Robots and Vision Systems Emphasize Ease Of Use

The International Robots & Vision Automation Show and Conference, held recently in Detroit, saw the introduction of robots and vision systems that, although not developed specifically for plastics, can help boost plastics processing productivity. The new systems include features such as increased versatility and speed. But perhaps more importantly, both robots and machine-vision systems are being enhanced so that they're easier to use, primarily through addition of "iconic" screen interfaces and more advanced, simplified programming techniques.

NEW GENERAL-PURPOSE ROBOTS

ABB Robotics, Inc., New Berlin, Wis., introduced the IRB 3000 robot for material handling, machine tending, and process applications. It provides six axes of movement, load capacity of 66 lb, "reach" of 78 in., high-speed operation, and repeatability of [+ or -]0.006 in. for precision handling and critical process movements. The robot base, which allows for 360 [degrees] rotation, is configured for either floor or overhead mounting. (CIRCLE 30)

ABB also introduced off-line programming simulation software for use in developing and programming its robot systems. ABB's Off-Line Programming/Simulation (OLP/S) software is said to allow programming with all the interactivity and simplicity of teach-pendant programming. But unlike the latter, which requires taking the robot out of production, OLP/S provides users with the ability to develop programs in an office environment, using an interactive 3D graphics engineering workstation.

ABB sources say the software enables programming to begin before equipment is installed, allowing earlier production starts. Also, the risk of damage to equipment that could result from developing a robot program on the shop floor is eliminated. And programming time reportedly can be reduced by using part data from CAD systems for automatic generation of robot program positions. The required number of points along paths defined by the programmer are generated by the OLP/S, which is said to eliminate tedious teaching.

OLP/S employs a mouse-driven graphical user interface to create robot programs in five steps: creation of workcells; reach and interference checking; robot programming; workcell simulation; and program transfer. Using the OLP/S library of ABB robots, imported CAD data, and/or the resident modeler, programmers reportedly can develop a robotic workcell complete with robots, workpieces, tooling, and auxiliary devices such as positioners and index tables. (CIRCLE 31)

GMFanuc Robotics Corp., Auburn Hills, Mich., introduced the S-500 general-purpose robot, a six-axis electric a-c servo-driven robot designed for sealing, material handling, deburring, parts transfer, welding, and machine loading/unloading. The S-500 has several advantages over its predecessor, the S-200, including improved speed and a larger work envelope. Horizontal reach is now 105 in. and vertical reach is 156 in. Max. payload is 33 lb. Improved accuracy (repeatability is [+ or -]0.01 in.) and greater mechanical simplicity--reducing maintenance costs--are also claimed. Other features of the robot include a user-freindly programming language, built-in card slots for MAP, and integrated vision board. (CIRCLE 32)

Motoman, Inc., Troy, Ohio, introduced a robot designed specifically for serving 200-600 ton presses. The five-axis Motoman K205S is able to transport up to a 44-lb payload with [+ or -]0.011-in. accuracy. It has a 59-in. front/back stroke and 8-in. up/down stroke. The K205S offers 10 strokes/min, owing to its reduced acceleration/deceleration time and a-c servomotors. It features an absolute digital positioning system, said to further increase efficiency by eliminating the homing operation. Floor space can be saved, as the K205 mounts on the ceiling or press (it weighs 1543 lb). (CIRCLE 33)

INSPECT 1200 PARTS/MIN

Automatix, Inc., Billerica, Mass., introduced the Autovision 90fx, a machine-vision system that automatically inspects up to 1200 parts/min. The system is based on an Apple Macintosh computer. Sources say the system measures more than 200 geometric quantities, including distances, angles, areas, roundness, part count, and part registration, as well as luminance-based features such as average and standard deviation of the gray values in a part.

Inspection routines and factory interface reportedly can be configured without any programming. When applications require customizing, it can be achieved using the source code and the system's MacRAIL language. A "C" programming environment is also available.

The Macintosh platform provides plug-in communications and SPC capabilities that are said to allow for a smooth flow of information between any computer. The system can also interface to other shop-floor devices using digital, analog, IEEE 488. Ethernet, and other common connectivity protocols. The basic system costs $25,103. (CIRCLE 34)

Cogney Corp., Needham, Mass., introduced On-Sight, a machine vision system that's also based on a MacIntosh platform. It's said to allow manufacturing engineers without computer programming or machine vision experience to solve problems in on line gauging, robotic guidance, part inspection, and part tracking on the factory floor. Cogney says that until now, manufacturing engineers could purchase either easy-to-use vision systems with limited power and flexibility, or more powerful systems requiring computer programming and image analysis expertise. On-Sight reportedly combines ease of use with the power and flexibility of sophisticated vision systems for the first time.

On-Sight's interface is said to enable users to configure, test, and install the system in a fraction of the time usually required for a vision installation. The interface provides a video image of the object of interest and a palette of icons representing various vision-system capabilities on a high-resolution color monitor. A trackball is used to select appropriate icons and place them on the image. To teach On-Sight to locate and measure an object, for example, the user places the FIND and TAPE MEASURE icons on the object within the image.

During this process, the system is said to automatically create and display a flow chart detailing the steps the system will follow when running. If desired, the user can incorporate general programming techniques such as looping, branching, and if-then statements into the flow chart to configure the system to handle a variety of conditions. Individual portions of the flowchart can also be interactively tested during development. (CIRCLE 35)

PHOTO : ABB Robotics' Off-line Programming/Simulation software allows users to program robots

PHOTO : without taking them out of production. Thus programming can begin even before the robot

PHOTO : equipment is installed, allowing an earlier production start. A teach-pendant ensures

PHOTO : simple, interactive programming.

PHOTO : Cognex's On-Sight machine vision system is said to be powerful and easy to use by

PHOTO : engineers without computer programming or machine vision experience. Typical applications

PHOTO : include on-line gauging, robotic guidance, part inspection, and part tracking.
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Author:Fallon, Michael
Publication:Plastics Technology
Date:Aug 1, 1990
Words:1069
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