How the robotic workforce is changing manufacturing

Collaborative robots are adding manufacturing flexibility.

By Kevin T. Higgins, Food Processing

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Technology is getting closer to replicating human sight, although it still has a ways to go. Similarly, multi-axis machine motion offers new options in manufacturing, though it’s still no match for hyper-flexible people.

On the other hand, vision systems never blink, and robots seldom take a day off. Robots, vision systems and robots with vision may never duplicate multifunctional workers, but the trade-offs are shrinking and counterbalanced by other capabilities.

Synchronized LED lighting helps improve pixel resolution necessary to get the most out of multiple cameras and lasers in Key’s sortation machines. Photo: Key Technology

Replacing human eyes to perform high-speed product inspections was the logical starting point for vision technology. These applications arguably are the most industrially hardened and are where the latest advancements are first implemented. An example is a new digital sorting platform from Key Technology Inc., Walla Walla, Wash. After two years of development and beta-site shakedowns, Key recently presided over the commercial introduction of Veryx, described as a “multi-sensor pixel fusion” platform that can be incorporated in both chute and belt sorters.

To learn more about robotics, read “Robots Add Safety and Flexibility for Manufacturers” from Food Processing.

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