A Primer on Using Collaborative Robots (Cobots) with Robotic Vision

Collaborative robots, also known as cobots, are the latest generation of robot systems. Rather than replace the job of humans, these cobots work alongside individuals and become part of the overall production workforce. When you’re able to come up with a workflow that leverages the fantastic attributes of both cobots and humans, you can reap so many benefits for your business. Some of them include:

  • Safer Production Operations –Cobots, when equipped with vision and sensor technologies, help keep workers safe from quick machine movements. Facility owners don’t have to place these machines behind a cage. The equipped sensors allow cobots to stop their movement when they encounter any obstacles to avoid crashing into people or objects.
  • Reasonable Price Tag – A report by the Financial Times revealed that the price of collaborative machines could be as low as $24,000, on average, per unit. Conventional industrial robots, on the other hand, usually cost from $50,000 to $80,000 per machine. This makes cobots a morecost-effective alternative for both small and medium manufacturing companies.
  • Customizable –Traditional robotic machines often stay in one location and perform one or two specific tasks. Cobots, in contrast, are both mobile and flexible. You may redeploy them for multiple and new applications.

Why Cobots Should Have a Robot Vision System

Giving a sense of vision to your robots will make these machines more collaborative and will set them apart froma traditional industrial robot. Additionally, it will open up many possibilities for your manufacturing business. Before the advent of robot vision AI, most robots were “blind.”  It means that machines could only perform non-visual tasks, such as lifting stuff. By giving these robots “eyes,” your machines can do the following:

  • Read and Scan a Barcode
  • Categorize a Product or Item by Color, Size, or Shape
  • Count Items
  • Adjust the Path of the Machine by Providing It with Feedback from the Vision System
  • Inspect Components for Any Defects or Issues
  • Identify a Component Accurately

A Look at the Types of Vision System Technology for Robots

If you’re going to introduce a cobot with a robot vision AI capability to your facility, you’ll need to install a robot visionsystem. You currently have three options for your vision system technology:

1D Technology

A one-dimensional sensor may be sufficient for your manufacturing plant if your goal is to figure out the height of a particular component moving on a conveyor system. You could, for instance, utilize a cobot equipped with a 1D sensor to calculate the distance from the surface of an object to the sensor. The machine will display a laser point on a surface and use triangulation to obtain the distance value.

You can also harness 1D technology for inspections. If you plan to check the surface of a product or component on a moving conveyor, you may install a machine with a line-scan camera on top of the conveyor. This enables you to collect line images, combine them to form a two-dimensional picture and perform an analysis on the photo.

2D Technology

Cobots with 2D scanning technology are similar to the traditional cameras that people use.This technology allows you to generate images by obtaining the x and y coordinates for the values of each pixel.

Besides cameras, you can integrate 2Dtechnology into a cobot and turn the machine into a 2D laser scanner. With this technology, you can obtain the distance measurements for the entire width of a product or component.

3D Technology

You may harness the benefit of 3D technology by integrating it into a cobot to create a 3D scanner. These scanners employ a range of techniques, such as structured lighting and laser triangulation. You can apply these techniques for various purposes, including metrology and reverse engineering.Depending on your goal, you can obtain precise data (which could take minutes) or get quick, approximate data that’s still adequate for your needs.

Choosing the Vision System for Your Needs

When it comes to the specific vision system you can purchase on the market, you have two options. First is an independent or standalone camera with a sensor that requires processing on a separate device. The second is a smart camera or intelligent camera that comes with a processor and sensor embedded in a casing. Figuring out which option is more superior is futile, as the ideal choice would depend on the need of your facility.

If you need help choosing the most suitable camera for your manufacturing plant, take note of these criteria:

  • Price – If you’re getting a camera with a state-of-the-art processor that generates hi-res images, you can expect to shell out cash with these kinds of specifications. On top of that, you’ll need to synchronize both the camera and the processor. Alternatively, you can opt for an independent, plug-and-play camera if you’re on a budget.
  • The Need for Image Processing –Independent, non-integrated cameras need a processor to analyze the collected images. You can, for instance, plug this camera to your PC and let the computer process the photos for you. On the other hand, smart cameras have embedded software libraries that perform basic image processing.You can configure the parameters of an intelligent camera to teach a template image, recognize a pattern, and more.
  • Programming Expertise – Programming a smart camera can be easier than configuring its standalone counterpart. Some intelligent cameras have an online-based interface that allows you to connect the camera to a device by configuring the IP setting. Others contain a built-in vision feature that you can set up quickly. Non-integrated standalone cameras, on the other hand, need an additional program or software that enables you to analyze images.

When it comes to cobots, remember only one name: Techman Robot. The name “Techman” comes from two words: Technology and Human. It implies our vision of utilizing robotics technology to enrich the lives of employees and help businesses around the world. We want to see people working next to cobots in a single production line. As we quickly expand in the global collaborative robot market, we want to promote cobots to various applications and hope that the things we do make lives better for people.

Reach out to us today for a free consultation.