Assembly in Action / Robotics Assembly / Electronics Assembly

Robot With Specialty Gripper Retrieves Metal Cylinders

All day long, DFT Presswork in Nordborg, Denmark, produces metal components by means of cold forging metal cylinders. Prior to forging, each metal cylinder must be taken out of a bin and delivered to a die.

The bin-picking system used by DTF Presswork
features an industrial six-axis robot with a specialty gripper designed by Scape Technologies and the Danish Technological Institute. Photo courtesy International Federation of Robotics


For many years, the cylinder was removed from the bin manually or with a machine. That all changed in 2011 when DFT installed a bin-picking system to retrieve the cylinders.

Scape Technologies designed the system, which includes an industrial six-axis robot with 3D scanner and proprietary operating software. The robot also features a specialty gripper designed by Scape and the Danish Technological Institute.

“The challenge stems from the fact that a robot is normally designed to do the same preprogrammed movements over and over,” says Soren Boving Andersen, managing director of Scape Technologies. “When all the items in a bin are placed randomly, the robot needs to figure out where the individual items are, how to pick them and how to move about in the bin. For humans, it is a trivial task, as we simply grab the one on top. But that is not the case for a robot.”

The robot’s operating software uses data from the 3D scanner to position the gripper above each cylinder. The software then guides the gripper to gently grab the cylinder so it does not collide with the edges of the bin or another cylinder. Cycle time is a maximum of 11 seconds.

DTF likes that the system uses minimal space on the production floor and does not require preprogramming by the operator. This is because the operating software contains CAD drawings of all the types of cylinders being retrieved.

DTF Presswork uses 12 automated hydraulic and mechanical machines to cold forge the cylinders. The machines produce 100 to 1,000 tons of pressure, depending on the component. Finished components include parts for automobiles, trucks, thermostat valves and hydraulic equipment.

For more information on specialty grippers, call 49 69-6603-1502 or visit

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