Meat, tomatoes, orange juice and beans. Coop picks and packs more than 10,000 different foodstuffs every day before they are transported to the stores. Nowadays picking is mainly a manual operation carried out by warehouse operatives. Therefore the Danish Technological Institute (DTI) investigated if it is possible for robots to recognise and cope with such a high variety of products.
The challenge is that there are lots of different items packed on mixed pallets and shipped to individual stores.
A single multipack weighs up to 15 kilograms and the actual picking and palletising operations are carried out manually at Coop. “The goal is to automate the process”, says Martin Mølbach Olsen, robot specialist at DTI.
“We have decided to invest in this project because in the long run we want a mobile robot that picks and transports the items instead of bringing them to the robot”, states Christian Flindt, Technical Manager at Coop.
“But before getting a mobile robot we had to find out if it is possible to develop a technology enabling the robot to recognise and then grip the items,” says Martin Mølbach Olsen.
In a first step the DTI looked into which vision solution was suitable for separating and palletising the items. Using an innovative 3D sensor from ifm electronic 100,000 measured values or distance values per image can be taken and used for a precise determination of the picking position.
Furthermore, the Danish Technological Institute used a completely new type of gripper from Schunk. This device is so flexible that it can pick up and deposit a multitude of items in the 10-15 kilo class.
The project impressively showed that the robot fitted with the new gripper type and 3D sensor can handle many different multipacks and products.
Article found on Teknologisk.dk – Link to original article
With the O3D sensor from ifm, 100,000 measured values or distance values per image can be recorded. Do you want to learn more about the O3D?
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