Unlimited Depalletization – An Industry First
Universal is the leader in intelligent, sensor-based, flexible automation applications. The company introduced Neocortex Unlimited Depalletization in 2013. With the introduction of version 4 of Neocortex – the patented interactive intelligence software platform – Universal has configured a turnkey application solution.
New features include multi-carton pick, a wider range of box sizes (limited only by sensor choice), and faster throughput at a lower cost. It recognizes various cases either in partial or complete layers. The Neocortex Unlimited Depalletization application has been tested at a Fortune 200 logistics center, and works with off-the-shelf sensors and popular industrial robots.
Neocortex delivers unprecedented flexibility with unstructured depalletization. In the video, average throughput is 1,100 cases per hour with random boxes in unknown pallet stack profiles.
The software application handles unrestricted box types or sizes, and includes an interface to the robot controller as well as optionally to a PLC. Integration partners typically provide the robot, end of arm tool, factory automation and safety equipment, and install the work cell.
Neocortex provides industrial and logistics customers automated material handling solutions for what has historically required manual labor. Neocortex Unlimited Depalletization application allows for handling an unlimited number of cartons, automatically adjusting for the nearly infinite number of variables that naturally occur in supply chains.
Fast – Up to 1,400 cases per hour
Unlimited – Cartons never seen before
Flexible – Boxes: any position, color, label
Tested – At Fortune 200 distribution center
ROI – Less than 24 month payback
Universal Robotics’ high-speed control enables 3D sensor updates to robot behavior in real-time. Universal’s experts integrate three main components uniquely for each application to ensure measurable return on investment:
Intelligence (Neocortex). Universal’s patented Neocortex provides intelligence for operational analysis or flexible machine control in chaotic environments, enabling identification and manipulation of boxes, cases, and cartons never seen before.
Sensing (Spatial Vision Robotics). Sensor data, managed by Spatial Vision Robotics software, give a complete continuous 3D update of the entire workstation area. Universal engineers are experts at mixing various sensor technologies to generate accurate multi-dimensional vision guidance and inspection.
Motion Control. Universal’s expert motion control programming optimizes throughput and accuracy of complex motion.
Neocortex enables the Application to move an unlimited number of boxes – palletizing or depalletizing – whether on the floor, on a moving conveyor, or in a container. It unloads partial, mixed, or full pallets of loosely or tightly packed boxes – regardless of the number of layers. Neocortex handles single, double and triple picks on-the-fly. It can move boxes from floor to conveyor, table to pallet, pallet to conveyor, truck to conveyor, or assembly line to staging area.
The flexibility of Neocortex intelligence enables picking and placing a wide range of box sizes from 4 inches up to 46 inches. The standard application provides depalletization of pallets up to 48” x 48” and 60” high. Stacking of the cases can be in any orientation and order, and layers can be fully packed to partially filled or homogeneous to mixed. Boxes can be plain, or have a variety of shipping labels, tape, lettering, or graphic designs. Boxes may contain frozen goods, or require special handling for fragile contents.
The application can opportunistically identify when the robot can pick a single box, double cartons, or triple cases. It locates boxes under a wide range of lighting conditions, and optional sophisticated motion control provides maneuvering in tight spaces such as existing work cells or truck unloading.
Contrary to traditional 2D or 3D vision systems that must be preprogrammed, Neocortex has learned what boxes “look like” – and so can identify thousands of boxes without prior programming for labels, sizes, tape location, etc. The Unlimited Depalletization software application can be integrated with either new installations or retrofitted with existing robots. Universal engineers will select the most cost effective sensors for your box size range, and can integrate with popular robot brands, which typically have payloads from 5kg to over 300kg. The Application selects the highest or closest cases to be moved, monitors the motion of the robot as it places the case, and progressively moves through the stack of boxes, removes slip sheets, and notifies when the pallet is empty. It can be used for box placement as well. For instance, it can place or sort the boxes to the correct conveyor with labels oriented downstream for easy identification at the next process step.