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Quick and easy: Pick-and-place of microparts with VisionPro

iTECH Engineering

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VisionPro Machine Vision Software

In-Sight® 2000 series vision sensors combine the power of an In-Sight vision system with the simplicity and affordability of a vision sensor.

Whether supplying components to the automotive industry or manufacturing medical products, the success of automation solutions depends on three criteria: speed, precision, and ease-of-use. The engineers at Insys Industriesysteme AG in Münsingen, Switzerland, have come up with an ultra compact, extremely efficient system for the identification of parts and optional inspection. When combined with VisionPro® software from Cognex, the INSYS I300 will bring small parts up to speed— a spot-on solution!

Modern pick-and-place systems register parts with reliable vision technology, ensuring short changeover times thanks to straightforward operability. The state-of-the-art solution for precise microparts handling from Insys Industriesysteme, speeds up production processes by combining smart software/hardware with simple handling. With VisionPro on board, the pilot system, which boasts the promising name of INSYS I300, will be shortly put into service by a well-known Swiss manufacturer of dental tools.

This highly compact, yet extremely robust, stand-alone solution is designed to pick up precision parts with a positioning accuracy of 0.05 mm and deposit them onto small pallets at the exact spot required. Measuring just 860 mm x 1200 mm x 1500 mm, a sturdy steel section frame ensures the stability of the high-tech system, weighing in at approximately 500 kg. This is especially important if the vision system and pneumatic gripper are to function accurately over a spacious work area of 300 mm x 500 mm.

Extreme speed and concentration

Parts are fed to the INSYS I300 via a bulk magazine with a large bin. The flexible peripheral equipment system provides for the alternative supply of parts via a servo-driven conveyor belt. The INSYS I300 transfers the small parts to the work area via vibration induction. Made of scratch-resistant, transparent plastic, it simultaneously serves as the image area for the vision system, developed with VisionPro software. The variable background lighting projects the clearly contrasting arrangement of the parts vertically upwards onto a mirror positioned at a 45° angle. This mirror then transmits the image to a stationary-mounted industrial camera.

In the background, the high-performance, robust tool library of Cognex's VisionPro shows what it can do: a process that is invisible from outside except via the monitor, making it all the more effective. The drag-and-drop link to the pneumatic gripper tool ensures the extremely fast transmission of image values. Here, VisionPro concentrates entirely on the critical features that are relevant for acceptance of the small parts. The intelligent vision software ignores any variations in the appearance of the parts that are noncritical. There is no need to pre-process the image data—a generally laborious procedure. The result is extremely fast part-handling and effortless application development for new product specifications.

Once the Cognex vision system has identified the positions of the parts, a Cartesian 4-axis robot, recently developed by Insys Industriesysteme, moves over the work area and grabs the small part using vacuum grippers or a tactile gripper system. It then adjusts the positioning required for further processing. For example, palletization in the tray feeder, packing in the tape feeder or vertical positioning and insertion of miniature shafts in precision holders. The high-precision grippers can even turn over stamped parts quickly and easily: a feature that is of special importance for the pilot project when miniature parts are being produced for use in dental tools. The cycle time for parts identification, pick-up, and set-down is just one second—a figure that is bound to impress.

Powerful data for a strong performance

Although the INSYS I300 is fully autonomous in operation, it can also be incorporated into a higher-level production system. This is guaranteed by the integrated PC, which uses VisionPro to reliably analyze image data in fractions of a second. Depending on the requirements of the application, the built-in database contains any number of freely programmable handling sequences. On the hardware side, the changeover speed is increased by precise magnetic catches designed to secure the different gripper tools.

When combined with VisionPro as a smart "image data accelerator", the INSYS I300 is also capable of assessing the quality of small parts using an optional parts control station. VisionPro can contribute experience gleaned from more than 500,000 systems installed all over the world. Its comprehensive library of tools ensures images are optimized prior to inspection. For example, PatMax® technology can be used for accurate pattern matching, while the IDMax® algorithm is capable of identifying even inferiorly marked Data Matrix codes. Additional comprehensive color, measuring and image-processing tools ensure fast, precise optimization and processing.

With its intelligent modular design, the INSYS I300 can be combined with the flexibility offered by Cognex vision technology to reduce delivery times, thus cutting costs. Fail-safe, thanks to top-quality hardware and software, it ensures work will go smoothly when it comes to the production and further processing of microparts.

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