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Vision-guided robotics from our subsidiary INFAIMON

3 Jun 2022 | Reading time: 2 min

The InPicker from our subsidiary INFAIMON has enabled SKF to increase production cycle time by 33%.

The SKF Group is the world's largest manufacturer of bearings and seals for the automotive sector. Its Spanish subsidiary has a production plant in Tudela (Navarra) with a production capacity of more than 8 million units per year, most of which are destined for export. SKF wheel bearings and hub units are original equipment in more than 90 million vehicles worldwide.

The challenge

SKF's goal was to develop an automated system that minimised human intervention and avoids manual and repetitive tasks such as collecting bearings from a bin and then placing them on a conveyor. The goal was to feed a part into the process every 12 seconds and achieve an OEE of almost 98%.

The biggest challenge was that there were many different types of bearings, which also had a shiny, oily surface due to added cutting fluids.

The available usable space for placing the system was just 12 square metres.

The solution

After analysing the requirements, INFAIMON worked with ASAI Industrial to offer the customer the InPicker system, a vision-guided robotics (VGR) solution that combines computer vision for part identification and robotics for handling.

In this case, the system uses a KUKA robot and an Ensenso X36 3D camera with stereo vision technology that is geared towards bin-picking applications, which in turn minimises reflections on the pieces.

Bin-picking applications are often faced with the need to distinguish multiple objects of different sizes and colours with shiny or reflective surfaces.

"One of the main problems was the gloss on the surface of the wheel hub outer rings due to the use of cutting fluids in rectified parts," points out Ángel Ballonga, Director of Industrial Engineering Projects at SKF Group.

"We consulted with three or four suppliers, but in the end, we chose INFAIMON because their InPicker software offered us the ideal solution. InPicker has helped us improve cycle time by 33%."

The result

InPicker provides an intuitive setup wizard and automatic calibration tool that simplifies process management for users with no computer vision experience.

The choice of a simple and universal system like InPicker, compatible with several 3D vision technologies and robot models, as well as the gripper design, which has been refined up to 7 times to achieve a truly optimal performance, were crucial for the development of the application.
Juan Antonio Díaz, Commercial Director of ASAI Industrial