Thursday, October 6, 2011

Why Scorpion?

Staying with the vision-guided-robotics (VGR) theme of my last post, the marketing machine that is Thor Vollset recently drew my attention to his work on 3D bin picking. This was in support of the Autocast project, which is something I’ve been following closely.

In a blog posting on September 13th Thor shows a video of a robot emptying a bin of castings. (“This is Autocast 3D Bin Picking for the Casting Industry.) We could nit-pick about the extent to which the castings were in a known and ordered arrangement for the video, but in the main it’s quite impressive.

But here’s my question: the last time I visited the Robots & Vision Show in Chicago every robot company had vision guidance. It seems that all of them, or at least the majors like my corporate robotics partner, is already in bed with a vision company. This means that if I need robotic bin picking I call up ABB, Fanuc or whoever and they quote me a turnkey package. I’m not sure why I should disregard their standard offering and instead go with Scorpion.

Thor, I know you’re a regular reader so perhaps you’d like to comment. (Make it a good one and perhaps you’ll get your own guest blogger spot!) Please tell us what Scorpion provides that I can’t get from my robot supplier’s existing partner.


Thor said...

The first unique feature is: The system does not requires ANY changes / tuning to pick ALL the parts produced in the factory.

We can copy the cell and run the same machine vision in all the robot cells in the factory. This is what 3D machine vision is all about.

These requirement has been pushed upon us by the AutoCast project manager and he has provide resources and time to implement this and succeed.

When the project started in 2009 we knew that we had to lift our 3D platform to be able to 3D pick from a bin based on the information from 3D Stereo Vision cameras. We have felt all the challenges where we get frustrated about the fact that the corners of the bin is so damned dark. It is hard to locate every object all the time - the contrast is so low - it cannot be possible. To overcome all these issues we have improved our sub-pixel accuracy both in 2D and 3D, we have invented the easiest to using multi-core processing to meet the cycle-time demand of 5 seconds - we have succeed on speed using quad-core cpus - with the new penta-core we have software that will easy run faster using the 2x6 = 12 cores on these systems. Even more has beed invented and more information is found at the TordivelBlog.

The video on the blog is boring by purpose. But is shows how the system will be used in the factory and the video is a big milestone in the project - we can empty the bin without any problems without ever failing over and over again due to the extreme accuracy.

The system can pick object in a bin 1200 x 800 and 600 mm height. The accuracy is a lot better than the customer needs sub mm in x,y and z.

We can handles any number of objects with x and y rotation up to +- 30 degrees. This is more than the robot can handle!

We are proud to have implemented a robust system that will improve the competetiveness of the Norwegian casting industry and reach the goals of the project. The platform is also suitable for other kinds of 3D Picking in all kind of industries.

Thor said...

To understand 3D Machine Vision you must look at the inside :)

Thor said...

After my technical focused reply I saw that I did not answer your question: Why choose Scorpion and not the solution that ABB, Fanuc, Kuka and other vendors provide. This question is not simple but I will try to answer.

Since we at Tordivel started making robot vision ten years ago a lot has changed. 2D was ruling and we got a lot of attention just stating we provided robot vision. We learned that making a prototype is easy, but delivering up to the expectation with robot vision is very hard. The picture has changed - most vendors do supply 2D vision and a lot of people supply 3D Robot Vision. I have been trying to promote machine vision to these companies with some luck but often with no luck.

Why is this? - I believe we will succeed because we care and understand the issues and exceptional values of accuracy and robustness. We can fix it when the system stops. Scorpion 3D never stops! Scorpion 3D Stinger is so good! When I talk to the big vendors with the standard robot vision - nobody likes robot vision, nobody talk about the fact that systems are stopping numerous time over a week and the loss of productivity. The automation people normally get scared when you talk about the great potential and the tremendous opportunities and value in 3D Robot Vision.

We have cared about our systems for more than ten years releasing a better software every friday - now build 496, we do not accept to deliver a system that stops several times pr day. We deliver great systems. We know what to do to get it working. Our systems are ten times as accurate and lot better than these standard solutions.We can solve application that the standard systems cannot even dream to solve.

The devil lies in the details we care about!

We deliver stereo vision that never fails with Scorpion 3D Stinger and Scorpion Vision.