Universal Robots (UR) is an industry-leading manufacturer of small to medium-size collaborative robot arms (called cobots). Their easy-to-use and cost-efficient UR3, UR5, and UR10 models are deployed in more than 25,000 production environments around the world today—in key factory automation applications such as pick-and-place, quality inspection, and packaging and palletizing.
There are numerous benefits to using these UR solutions for the purpose of factory automation:
- Easy programming
- Fast setup
- Flexible deployment
- Collaborative design and safety features
UR and 3D Smart Sensor Integration
To implement these applications successfully, the UR robot requires machine vision capability for vision-guidance, 3D scanning and measurement, and pass/fail control.
Engineers using UR robots can now easily integrate Gocator® smart 3D snapshot sensors into their applications. Gocator® is able to provide the UR robot not only with the “eyes” it needs in order to "see", but also the “mind” it needs in order to “think” and “do.
Mounting, Calibration, and Implementation
Gocator® 3D snapshot sensors are easily mounted onto the UR robot flange (end-of-arm) using a metal plate. You can then connect to the sensor’s web interface from a client PC over an Ethernet connection, and add and configure the appropriate built-in measurement tools (e.g., Surface Plane, Surface Sphere, etc.) to return the required positional data. Finally, you connect the sensor to a robot controller or PC application to perform sensor hand-eye calibration, using the URCap plugin, and implement pick-and-place movement.
Since you don’t have to write any robot programs or calibration routines, it doesn’t take any expertise in order to set up your robotic systems for factory automation applications. Any engineer can do it.
Or, if you’re an advanced user who wants greater flexibility and control, you have the option of using the Gocator Development Kit (GDK) to develop and embed your own custom tools onto the sensor so that you can adapt the calibration routine to your own calibration target.
How It Works - Gocator® URCap
Sensor-robot integration is achieved through the Gocator® URCap plugin, which is an application you install on the UR robot. This plugin triggers scans on the sensor and retrieves the positional information of the calibration target in the sensor’s field of view. (Note: Ball-bars are the most commonly used targets in sensor-robot calibration.)
After a sufficient number of scans, the calibration is saved to the UR robot, and hand-eye calibration (between the sensor and the robot flange) is complete.
After you’ve performed your hand-eye calibration, you can add programming nodes in the UR robot’s interface to tell the robot to connect to the sensor, load a job on the sensor, trigger a scan, and return positional measurements in the X, Y, and Z axes.
UR Meets Gocator®
Automation of repetitive tasks (such as pick-and-place) delivers many benefits to your business, such as increasing accuracy and minimizing waste. And now with easy UR integration provided by the Gocator URCap, you can get a complete vision-guided robotic solution up and running with minimal cost and development time.
For more on the topic of UR integration in Gocator®, you're invited to watch this how-to video. Or if you'd like to read about 3D smart sensors and vision-guided robotic systems, you can download this exclusive white paper.