How to quickly start a robotic pick-and-place application

ur actinav

The complexity of automated bin picking requires huge efforts in integration and programming. Most bin picking products focus on the machine vision and often require hundreds of lines of additional programming to get from “pick” to “place,” especially if the “place” requires accurately inserting the part into a fixture for further processing, beyond dropping the part into a box or tote, according to Universal Robots, a Boston-based robotic company in an April 9 press release.


by Universal Robots

How does ActiNav Autonomous Bin Picking work?

Position a UR e-Series robot in your existing operator workspace, attach the end-effector of your choice and mount the included 3D sensor above your bin of parts.

Using only the teach pendant, train your environment by touching objects the robot can reach. Then, using the scan-to-teach feature, train the desired pick points and part-relative placements.

The Autonomous Motion Module (AMM) enables the robot to actively navigate into the bin, move through the environment collision-free, and place parts into the machine. No two paths are the same.


Seven pick-and-place tips for robots

When manufacturers with limited or no bin picking deployment expertise want to quickly achieve high machine uptime and accurate part placement with few operator interventions, Universal Robots recommended:

UR ActiNav bin packing

  1. Combine real-time autonomous motion control, collaborative robotics, vision and sensor systems in an easy–to–use, fast to deploy and cost-effective kit that requires no vision or robotic programming expertise.
  2. Set up the application with a “teach-by-demonstration” six-step, wizard-guided setup process integrated into the collaborative robot teach pendant.
  3. Use a system that can enable a collaborative robot to autonomously locate and pick parts out of deep bins and place them precisely into a machine, accurate pick and part-oriented placement rather than just pick and drop.
  4. Eliminate the duplication of engineering efforts when deploying widely–used applications with an available component or user-defined end effector, and application-specific frame or fixture as needed.
  5. Use pre-integrated software for user interface and autonomous motion control to enable the robot to operate inside deep bins that hold more parts, difficult for some standalone bin picking vision systems to do.
  6. Select 3D sensors suitable for the application.
  7. Avoid more complex approaches to automating machine tending stations, such as implementing trays, bowl feeders or conveyors to get the parts to the machine. Integrating a robot with a pick–and–place kit minimizes floor space and reduces the need for part-specific tooling. 

UR ActiNav bin picking kit


Edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media,

Who is Universal Robots? 
Universal Robots (UR) was founded in 2005 to make robot technology accessible to all by developing small, user-friendly, reasonably priced, flexible collaborative robots (cobots) that are safe to work side by side with people. Since the first cobot was launched in 2008, the company has experienced considerable growth with the user-friendly cobot now sold worldwide. The company, which is a part of Teradyne Inc., is headquartered in Odense, Denmark, and has regional offices in the United States, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, U.K., Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Russia, Turkey, China, India, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Mexico. In 2019, Universal Robots had a revenue of USD 248 million. 

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