September 12 – 17, 2016 McCormick Place in Chicago Illinois hosted one of its largest annual events, the International Manufacturing Technology Show. IMTS is one of the largest industrial trade shows in the world, featuring 2,407 exhibiting companies and 115,612 registrants. The event is held every two years with its main focus being the metalworking industry. Industry professionals from all over the world attend IMTS to see more than 15,000 new machine tools, controls, computers, software, components, systems, and processes that can improve their efficiency.
If you roamed this stupendous display of automation and manufacturing technology you no doubt passed by the bright and sunny yellow booth of FANUC America in all their robotic glory. Their world class exhibit featured a double sided video wall, well over a dozen robots, their latest RoboDrill technology, and definitely the most eye catching attraction of the entire show. Onlookers gazed upward as the FANUC M-2000iA/1700L heavy payload capable robot effortlessly swung about a 2016 Chevy Corvette overhead of IMTS attendees. It was quite a sight to behold.
After removing oneself from the amazement of a flying Corvette and taking a closer look at the FANUC iRVision displays, there was a common theme among them. The LED illumination sources for the applications exclusively featured Smart Vision Lights products. In partnership with FANUC America, SVL was very excited and pleased to oblige the request to supply key illumination solutions highlighting the capabilities of our products paired with one of the world’s most popular vision guided robotics platforms, iRVision.
The application displays included a small conveyor pick and place application utilizing the DLP-300×300-625 Diffuse Ring Light Panel that allowed the vision camera to peer through the center of light will providing even illumination for the entire conveyors field of view. It was sort of a traditional “Spider Robot” application picking and stacking parts between two opposing direction of travel conveyors with one challenge; The parts were shiny metallic items which showed the the DLP’s ability to illuminate high reflection items robustly and allow the system to perform at high speed.
The larger and more complex application utilized a series of S75-625 Brick Lights, L300-625 Linear Lights, and SOBL-300×50-625 Back Light to inspect large bolts for intelligent placement into a full sized engine block. The bolts were presented in a white background tray and illuminate from overhead. This image acquisition allowed the robot to pinpoint the position and orientation of the bolts to allow for quick and easy pick-up. The robot presented the bolt in front of a second vision system which took a precision image to realize the object dimensions. Knowing the specific object dimensions allows for critical sorting and proper placement into a nearby holding tray. A third and final vision system is mounted directly overhead of the engine block. This camera was able to pinpoint specific holes in the block where the bolts should be inserted. Upon completion of the process the block was nearly dumped completely upside down. The bolts landed back into the original tray from where they were picked allowing the exhibit to begin a new cycle.
The robotics industry is experiencing a continued upward growth trend and it was a great opportunity for SVL to feature our capabilities in conjunction with a world class organization with specialty knowledge of Vision Guided Robotics. As SVL continues to grow we are embracing new challenges, relationships, and opportunities. We would like to thank FANUC America for their support and we can’t wait to see what they come up with for the next IMTS Event.