Columns

Assembly In Action: Single-Cable Camera Maximizes Efficiency

July 27, 2009
/ Print / Reprints /
ShareMore
/ Text Size+


Comau Group, a subsidiary of Fiat Spa, builds automated production machines for a wide range of customers, including those in the automotive industry. The company also manufactures turnkey automated assembly systems, robots, weld guns, conveyors, recognition software and other automation components.

Recently, engineers at the company’s North American headquarters in Southfield, MI, developed what they call VersaVision II software as an upgrade to the company’s existing robotic guidance systems. The new software allows a robot to both pick up parts and then position them in space using a single machine-vision camera, as opposed to multiple cameras. The software can be used with any GigE camera or robot currently on the market. By reducing the number of cameras, the system helps assemblers reduce costs.

“The VersaVision II program provides our robots true visual recognition,” says Comau product development engineer Max Falcone. “The software emulates the visual cortex of the human brain, teaching the system to recognize an object the same way you would teach an infant. We show the system an object by taking a picture of the object and naming it.  All of the information pertaining to that object is stored into the system’s memory, which allows the system to recognize the target part and maneuver a servo-actuated manipulator to pick, place or work on that object.” 

To make the system as effective and efficient as possible, Comau engineers wanted to reduce the amount of cabling connecting the robot-mounted camera to the robot controller. Standard GigE cameras require three cables: one for communications, one for power and one to trigger the camera to take a picture. Three cables means three times the opportunity for failure in a single camera application. 

“To make our robotic guidance systems as reliable and cost-effective as possible, we wanted to take our design one step further,” says Comau robotics and vision products manager Tony Ventura. “Not only did we need to reduce the number of cameras in our systems, we wanted to reduce the chances of system failure associated with cabling. The more cables located on a robot, the higher the risk of cable failure.” 

To solve the problem, Comau incorporated a TXG camera with power over GigE cabling from Baumer Ltd., a manufacturer of sensors, motion-control equipment and machine vision. In the Comau application, the camera includes a specially developed industrial power injector module or Ethernet switch that provides power down a Cat6 Ethernet cable at distances up to 100 meters. By eliminating the need for any additional cables, the Power over GigE Camera minimizes the risk of cable fatigue and greatly improves the integrity of a vision system.

According to Falcone, Comau also liked the camera because of its robust design and performance features. “The camera is neat, complete and well engineered. The lock-style connections are strong, reliable, industrially accepted M8 connectors. The integrated UV filter mounted in front of the camera’s face eliminates the need to buy and install a separate filter to show true colors. This high-quality camera allows us to provide our customers with an overall lower cost system,” he says.

For more on machine vision, visit www.baumerelectric.com/usa or call 800-937-9336.

For more on automation, call 248-353-8888 or visit www.comauinc.com.

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to Assembly Magazine.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.

Multimedia

Videos

Image Galleries

Behind the Scenes at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant

People are the heart and soul of the 2012 Assembly Plant of the Year. This slideshow shows some of the men and women who build three different types of electrified vehicles alongside traditional gas-powered cars on the auto industry’s most flexible assembly line—Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, MI. Photos courtesy Ford Motor Co.

Podcasts

Tim Hutzel, President, Tim Hutzel American Business Services and Dave Lippert, President, Hamilton Caster & Mfg. Co have deep and unique perspectives on reshoring. That’s the primary reason they’ve been invited to deliver the keynote address at 2014’s The ASSEMBLY Show.

More Podcasts

Assembly Magazine

assembly cover september 2014

2014 September

The 2014 September Assembly includes articles about engine assembly plus much more. Check it out today!
Table Of Contents Subscribe

Assembly Plant Age

How Old Is Your Assembly Plant?
View Results Poll Archive

THE ASSEMBLY MAGAZINE STORE

welding.gif
Welding: Principles & Practices

This text introduces students to a solid background in the basic principles and practices of welding.

More Products

Clear Seas Research

Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications,Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.

Assembly Showrooms

ASSEMBLY Showrooms

STAY CONNECTED

facebook_40px twitter_40px  youtube_40pxlinkedin_40pxgoogle plus