Rethink Robotics Introduces Intera 5.2 with Insights

November 17, 2017

AHP Sawyer screenRethink Robotics’ recent release of Intera® 5.2 is an expansion of its first-of-its-kind Intera software platform that provides critical data insights to manufacturers in real time. Rethink Robotics’ Sawyer™ gives operators and line managers valuable data at a glance, including metrics such as cycle time, part count, speed and force.

The new feature, Intera Insights, displays key performance indicators (KPIs) via a customizable dashboard on the robot’s on-board display, making it accessible directly on the factory floor. The same charts are also fed back to the Intera Studio platform, providing visibility to other members of the manufacturing team.

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SICK CLV6 Series Barcode Scanners for Food Processing

November 9, 2017

Food barcode scanner

Barcode scanners are used for a variety of different purposes in the food processing industry. The track and trace requirements are constantly growing and every individual item of food that is bought by discerning end consumers must be fully traceable. The more the food is processed, the greater the level of safety required, in particular in the case of high-risk frozen products. At the same time, the technical systems must be highly resilient and compatible with hygiene standards. The ideal solution is for one supplier to provide all the bar code scanners needed for the entire production process.Bar code scanners are in use throughout the food industry from the delivery of the raw materials and the production process in the wet area through to the dry area and the intralogistics system. In the food production sector, the scanners have to be extremely tough. It is essential that their screens do not break, that they can withstand cleaning processes using aggressive substances and that they can continue operating in freezers at temperatures as low as minus 35 degrees Celsius, because they must be able to reliably identify each item by its bar code. Since the 1970s bar codes have become widely used in industry and the retail sector. In particular in the food industry, the EAN-13 bar code brings benefits for manufacturers, retailers and consumers. This type of bar code is valid all over the world and encodes the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), which is a standardized global part number. Bar codes provide a unique form of identification for every food item and make it possible to achieve high levels of safety, because every single step in the complex production processes can be reliably monitored and controlled. The processes have to comply with highly stringent legislation, directives and standards, including the HACCP concept and a wide range of national and international hygiene and safety standards.

Protecting consumers and businesses

Traceability is the number one priority. It enables safe products to be manufactured for consumers and also protects the production process and therefore the business in the long term. Companies in the food industry must be able to identify when, where and by whom products were received, processed, stored, transported, consumed and disposed of and must provide fully documented proof. It would not be possible to meet these requirements without automated identification systems such as bar codes. Labeled products must have their labels read and verified on the production line and then the data must be stored. SICK supplies intelligent sensor solutions for this purpose, ranging from compact devices that are easy to integrate and configurable standalone systems through to programmable high-speed cameras.

Compatible, standardized, flexible systems

In its permanently installed and mobile readers, SICK uses a variety of technologies to detect bar codes, 2D codes and RFID tags. Its wide-ranging portfolio of products includes a solution for every challenge. Its 4Dpro conceptallows the different products to be combined and exchanged with one another, because they have a standardized connectivity system, user interface and accessories. This protects users’ investments, reduces the amount of integration work needed during commissioning and maintenance and keeps stock levels and storage costs to a minimum.

Tough products made from stainless steel with an IP69K rating

The laser bar code scanners of the CLV6 series are ideal for use in food production processes where hygiene is crucial. Their tough stainless steel housings have an IP69K rating and can easily withstand harsh conditions. The materials, design and functionality of the scanners have convinced system integrators, machinery manufacturers and users of their suitability for use in the wet areas of food production. The stainless steel housings are resistant to chemicals and corrosion and are also fully leakproof. These are key considerations for one of the leading companies in the European dairy industry, for example. A CLV scanner solution from SICK has been integrated into the company’s production system to identify bar codes on aluminum yogurt pot lids. Before the pots are filled with yogurt and the lids are fitted, both pots and lids must be cleaned in PSDI mode. Once the lids have been fixed in place, the bar codes are read while the machine is stationary. When items of this kind in the wet process are cleaned using a high pressure cleaner and cleaning agents, the bar code scanners are fully protected by their stainless steel housing and also by their design, which includes a low level of surface roughness, smooth, rounded edges and special housing and fastener shapes. As a result, no residues can form on the outside of the scanners. In order to guarantee that no broken glass can contaminate the food production process, the optical interfaces of the scanners are made from polycarbonate, which is very strong and hard and also resistant to water, chlorine-based alkaline disinfectants, solvents, oils and greases. When designing the scanners, SICK focused in particular on avoiding the creation of “escape routes” for moisture and also ensured that the products are resistant to variations in temperature. The cable entry points and plugs are protected by an additional double sheath and the cables themselves are certified by Ecolab for these applications. Even sudden reductions in temperature do not affect the scanners.

A clear view at low temperatures

Frozen food production processes present bar code scanners with particular challenges and this area of the food industry is growing rapidly. A look at the sales figures for 2016 shows how much the demand for frozen food has increased in Germany alone. A 2.5 percent growth in volume and a 3.6 percent increase in revenues speak for themselves. The average annual consumption per head of 45.4 kilograms of frozen food is the highest figure ever recorded. [1] SICK has equipped its bar code scanners, which are already highly reliable and tough, especially for this growing area of production. The CLV61x, CLV63x and CLV65x product families are fitted with heaters. The CLV69x models even have a heated front screen. These devices can operate without problems at average temperatures of minus 25 degrees Celsius. In some cases the temperatures can even fall as low as minus 35 degrees, because of the use of low-cost off-peak electricity. When a scanner is exposed to constantly changing temperatures, for example when it travels on a forklift from the freezer warehouse to the loading area, the front screen heater prevents the reading window from misting up.

Their excellent reading performance makes the SICK bar code scanners with integrated heaters ideal for use in frozen food production processes. They have a good depth of field, which is further increased in the CLV65x and CLV69x model ranges by a real-time autofocus function. In the CLV64x product family, the depth of field can be easily modified using a dynamic focus adjustment function. Because of the scanners’ wide aperture angle, one device can cover the majority of conveyor belt widths. Excellent reading properties and a fast, reliable reading rate help to ensure that the data is safely captured, even when the print quality of the bar codes is poor, the codes are damaged or films or other reflective surfaces have been applied over the top of them. Large reading distances and low-contrast codes, for example when identifying pallets, do not pose any problems for the SICK bar code scanners. In addition, their high scanning frequencies of up to 1200 Hz allow for fast process speeds, for example in container identification. SICK has responded to the growing demand in the field of package conveyors with its CLV61x Dual Port model, which has a PROFINET connection with an integrated switch to allow line and ring topologies to be installed and implemented easily, making the wiring process simple and cost-effective. In addition, the CLV63x and CLV64x product families are also available with oscillating mirrors, enabling them to meet all types of reading requirements.

Safe processes in ice cream production

Companies in the dairy industry, where the logistics processes have to meet strict technical standards relating to temperature-controlled foods, use SICK bar code scanners at the very beginning of the supply chain. The tankers that collect milk from farms are fitted with a CLV6 series bar code scanner with a stainless steel housing that has an IP69K rating. This makes it possible to reliably identify the samples that have to be taken by law from the milk provided by every individual supplier, even when the devices are exposed to low temperatures and high moisture levels in the winter months. If the milk is being made into ice cream, CLV6 series scanners with plastic screens are used during the primary packaging phase, because the food must not be contaminated with broken glass when the type of ice cream, container and appropriate lid are being identified. In the warehouse logistics process for ice cream production, scanners from the CLV69x series with front screen heating reliably identify the bar codes in the pallet warehouse, despite the freezing temperatures. In high-bay warehouses, all types of scanners from the CLV6 product family can be used.

The CLV6 series of bar code scanners from SICK ensure the safety of the process from beginning to end, regardless of the many challenges presented by food production, which include high availability and fast turnover rates, growing order numbers combined with falling batch sizes and demands for more environmentally friendly logistics systems.

WIN Six DataMan 70 Fixed Mount Barcode Readers

November 6, 2017

6 Dataman 70sThe new DataMan 70 fixed-mount barcode reader is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, yet powerful enough to read the most challenging 1-D and 2-D label-based codes.

DataMan 70 reliably reads:

  • Omnidirectional codes
  • Codes at extreme perspectives
  • Damaged, smudged or distorted codes

Enter today for a chance to win six DataMan 70 fixed-mount barcode readers.

 

Cognex Real Time Monitoring

October 17, 2017

Real Time MonitoringCognex Real Time Monitoring improves efficiency and throughput with performance feedback.

Real Time Monitoring (RTM) collects, processes, and displays information collected by DataMan barcode readers to help facility managers remove system defects and improve overall equipment efficiency (OEE) and throughput.

  • RTM organizes data in easy-to-use dashboards that make it simple to track performance and analyze metrics.
  • Overview of facility performance via read rates and throughput over time
  • 1-D and 2-D barcode quality metrics identify when code quality drops, signaling that labeling or printing equipment requires attention
  • Detailed trigger data including barcode symbology, module size, and decode time
  • Automatic collection and root cause analysis of no-reads
  • Tracks and compares reader configuration changes
  • Heat maps track the relative positions of barcodes to identify required changes in reader configurations

Learn more…

Intelligent Actuator Rotating 2-Axis Wrist Unit

September 5, 2017

Ideal for reducing costs when 6-axis robot is not necessary

Wrist Units with logoIAI’s Unique WU Series Wrist Unit design makes it light weight and compact in size.  
Equipped with a battery-less absolute encoder as standard, the WU Series is a low cost alternative, compared to 6-axis articulated robots making it ideal for reducing the cost of equipment.

Diagonal approaches and tip swiveling can now be performed with minimum required axis configuration which until now required a vertically articulated robot.

MiRFleet Centralized Robot Control

July 31, 2017

Easily program robots for multiple tasks

MiRFLeet with logoMiRFleet™ gives you centralized control of robots throughout your facility from a single, user-friendly, web-based interface.

You can easily program and control a fleet of robots, including managing robots with different top modules, hooks or other accessories. Once programmed, the system automatically prioritizes and selects the robot best-suited for a job based on position and availability. SMS or email notifications keep you informed of obstacles or other issues that might prevent the robot from completing a task.

MiRFleet information

Rethink Robotics ClickSmart Gripper Kits

June 13, 2017

End-of-arm tooling for Sawyer robots

ClickSmart GripperWe are excited to announce the ClickSmart™ family of gripper kits, a unique solution for end-of-arm tooling for Sawyer that incorporates smart sensing and rapid swapping capabilities, resulting in the first fully integrated robotic solution available on the market through a single vendor.

Rethink’s complete solution continues to simplify robot deployments. When the ClickSmart Plate is attached to any Sawyer robot, it will immediately recognize the type of end-effector and know how to control it.

  • Vacuum Foam Gripper
  • Vacuum Large Gripper
  • Vacuum Small Gripper
  • Pneumatic Large Gripper
  • Pneumatic Small Gripper

Rethink Robotics ClickSmart Gripper Kits

Cognex In-Sight 7000 Gen II Vision System

April 28, 2017

In-Sight 7000 Gen II (3)The first, truly-customizable vision system! With field-configurable modular optics, lights, filters and covers the next generation In-Sight 7000 can be easily customized to solve your unique application. Now you have the power to BUILD YOUR VISION, your way!

The NEW In-Sight 7000 is a full-featured, powerful vision system that performs fast, accurate inspections of a wide range of parts across all industries. Its compact footprint easily fits into space-constrained production lines and the unique, modular design is highly field-customizable to your application requirements.

  • Enhanced performance keeps pace with increasing line speeds
  • Field-configurable lenses, lights, filters and covers meet custom application requirements
  • Familiar EasyBuilder interface simplifies set up and deployment

Cognex In-Sight Laser Profiler

April 11, 2017

In-Sight Laser Profiler and VC200The In-Sight™ laser profiler is a measurement system used to verify that a part’s dimensions meet specifications.  The In-Sight laser profiler is configured using the In-Sight EasyBuilder user interface.  This intuitive, easy-to-use software makes it simple for manufacturing and quality engineers to develop, deploy and support high accuracy measurements on the factory floor.

  1. Accurately acquire profiles
  2. Easily extract features and construct reference points
  3. Perform correct and repeatable measurements

The In-Sight laser profiler generates an accurate 2D profile of an object along a laser line.  The 2D profile provides precise geometric information that can be sued to verify that an object is defect-free and meets specifications.  The In-Sight laser profiler is easy to use and factory calibrated to ensure accurate and repeatable measurement results.

The Power of Sawyer’s Embedded Vision

March 30, 2017

Pick & place random array of parts

RRFSawyer pick & place videoThe combination of Intera 5 and embedded vision allows Rethink’s  Sawyer to operate much like a human. Sawyer leverages Cognex’s industry-leading expertise in machine vision. With no additional hardware, software or integration costs, the robot can now identify parts and pick much like a human, reducing the high cost of fixturing for part presentation.

  • Part pick/place for static parts and moving conveyors 
  • Presence/absence inspection
  • Dynamic registration using embedded camera