By adopting the LabVIEW platform, we successfully programmed, prototyped, and tested new robotics applications very quickly.
– Ignazio Piacentini, ImagingLab

The Challenge

Identifying the position and orientation and performing quality control of face powder brushes, and programming a robotic system to pick up the brushes and place them in a powder case on an eight-slot shuttle.

The Solution

Using the ImagingLab Robotics Library for DENSO to integrate two DENSO SCARA HSS-45552 model robots with two vision systems developed with two NI image acquisition boards, and programming the entire robotic cell with LabVIEW and the NI Vision Development Module.

ImagingLab is a high-tech company that helps system integrators, machine builders, and users adopt innovative machine vision and robotics technologies, minimize investments, and reduce the learning curve. Our solid academic background, wide system integration experience, knowledge of NI imaging tools and software, and continuous effort to stay up-to-date with rapidly evolving machine vision technology attribute to more than 20 years of experience in the global artificial vision market.

Because of our long-standing cooperation with Vetraco, an established leader in the production of complete assembly and packaging lines for cosmetics, they selected ImagingLab as a preferred technology partner for machine vision and robotics.

For Vetraco’s cosmetic powder case production line, we had to accurately place a face powder brush in the dedicated fixture (80 by 20 mm), which will later be placed in a powder case. We placed the brush boxes on an 8-slot shuttle with a production rate of up to 80 pieces per minute. Also, because different batches could have different brushes and box shapes, the system had to be flexible and easy to use for the line operators.

Developing an Easy-to-Use Packaging System

To achieve the rate of 80 pieces per minute, we installed two “twin” robotic stations. The brushes are loaded on a programmable feeder (Anyfeeder SX-240 by FlexFactory) that shakes to spread them apart and make them available for picking. The Anyfeeder is interfaced to the cell via a LabVIEW library.

The vision system based on a NI image acquisition board, an AVT 1,400 by 1,000 pixel CCD camera, and an ImagingLab custom infrared illuminator acquires the images of the brushes, determines their positions, and communicates the coordinates for the part picking to the robot. If there are no parts available for picking, the system shakes the Anyfeeder to deposit more brushes under the camera. The system chooses between four possible shaking modes – shake forward, shake backward, shake neutral, and load more parts – to activate based on information from the vision system.

We place the brush boxes’ 8-slot trays in front of the robot at fixed positions. The brushes can have a random position on the feeder and the vision system has to localize the position and orientation of each part because every brush must be placed in its box with the correct orientation. Additionally, the robot has a multiple gripper for four brushes so the vision system has to identify and locate the position of four brushes at each picking cycle. When a tray becomes full, a new one arrives. The robotic cells work 24 hours per day, seven days per week, rejecting any defective parts.

The vision system guides the robots and provides quality control on the parts by measuring the dimensions and verifying the integrity. Using the ImagingLab Robotics Library for DENSO, we implemented tight vision and robotics integration. As a result, the user can calibrate imaging and robotics with only one operation.

Programming, Prototyping, and Testing Industrial Robotics Applications with LabVIEW

By adopting the LabVIEW platform, we successfully programmed, prototyped, and tested new robotics applications very quickly. Another great advantage of using the LabVIEW platform was the ability to design and customize the graphical user interface.

Because the same LabVIEW program will run on devices ranging from PCs to NI Smart Cameras, we have a lot of flexibility in choosing NI hardware for our systems. We can also reuse parts of the hardware and equipment from past projects. Moreover, the NI standard allows fast product integration, which shortens project development time and cost.

Author Information

Ignazio Piacentini
Palazzo Mozzanica via XX Settembre, 51
26900 Lodi (LO)
Tel: +39 0371 416366

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