Integration of smart features
"M-2iA robots operate with an R-30iB control unit and integrate functions such as iRVision, visual line tracking, load balancing, collision guard, and an Ethernet encoder. The waffles are placed at random on the conveyor belt. Using these features, the robots pick up the waffles from the conveyor belt and place them on the packaging line. Each of the six robots therefore receives an equal load of the supply capacity. A major advantage of FANUC is that you can individually adjust each movement of the robot to create fluid motion."
iRVision: scanning waffles
"The conveyor belt consists of two tracks. On each track, four waffles are placed one beside the other as they are packed by two. A strip correctly spreads waffles. Therefore, the cameras of the iRVision system are better able to detect the contours of each waffle. A camera hanging above each track scans the waffles. To further increase accuracy, we illuminate the conveyor belt from the bottom up. The camera detects the waffles perfectly."
The cameras are piloting the robots
"The cameras are connected to the robot controllers. They transmit the number of waffles located on the conveyor and their position. At the same time, they divide the waffles among the robots. We have written the software ourselves to have the robots communicate with the packaging line. Each robot grips two waffles and places them on the line. By opting for the duo pick, we save time and enhance transfer speed."
Setting the speed of the robot and conveyor
"We also experienced an extra challenge, since the supply chain should operate with the flow. The last row of robots has less than a meter to pack the waffles and place them on the line before they disappears into the flow packer. With FANUC software in the control units and iRVision, we are able to adjust the speed of pick & place depending on the speed of the line."
Invaluable support from FANUC
"I am more than satisfied with FANUC. The software that came with the control units covered 70 percent of what we needed. The remaining 30 percent was programmed with the help of FANUC. We have developed the overall pick & place process of the packaging line together, and the support we received was invaluable."
Technology supplements mechanics
"Technically, the packaging line is at a much higher level. The two cameras are the only control techniques that need to be considered. The other packaging lines are equipped with photocells, and because the new line involves fewer mechanical parts, there are fewer failures. Moreover, operators can clean the line three times faster than before. All this means that there is less down-time, and therefore, increased production."