Unlimited Depalletization Now Possible With Neocortex – An Industry First
Neocortex 3.2 can now be used for on-the-fly automated handling of any carton independent of box variability. This includes size or condition, weight, location or orientation within the work cell, label quantity/type, or box graphics or color.
The Application builds on the patented machine learning, big data software Neocortex platform Universal has been developing for three years. Version 3.2 recently completed testing at a Fortune 200 logistics center. It works with off-the-shelf sensors and popular brands of industrial robots.
In many supply chains, there are places where the complexity of the handling requires manual intervention to complete the task. Neocortex now provides an automated alternative. The Unlimited Depalletization Application uses Neocortex for unrestricted box handling in operations. Benefits include faster unloading, increased safety and less than a 24-month payback.
This video demonstrates Neocortex identifying randomly located boxes on-the-fly, independent of label quantity or type, box color, size, or condition. Spatial Vision Robotics provides the 3D sensing and interface to the Yaskawa Motoman MPL80 robot.
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 months
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 of task patterns and manipulation of never-before-seen objects.
Sensing (Spatial Vision Robotics). Sensor data, managed by Spatial Vision Robotics, give a complete continuous update of the entire workstation area. Universal engineers are experts at mixing various sensor technologies to generate accurate multi-dimensional vision guidance and inspection.
Control (Autonomy). Universal’s Autonomy significantly reduces programming time of any robot, especially when optimizing 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 6 inches up to 48 inches. The 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.
Since Spatial Vision Robotics’ 3D sensing is always faster than the robot, the Application can move boxes at up to 30 per minute, depending on the size and weight of the box, the physics of the motion, and the distance the robot arm must travel. Universal integrates cost-effective off-the-shelf sensors with state-of-the-art high speed parallel processing – enabling dynamic 3D guidance to the robot. This eliminates expensive fixturing and automated tables. The Application locates boxes under a wide range of lighting conditions, and manages sophisticated motion control required in tight spaces such as existing work stations 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 never seen. The Unlimited Depalletization Application can be integrated with either new or retrofitted with existing robots having payloads from 5kg to over 500kg. After calibration of cameras and sensors, Spatial Vision Robotics software coordinates 3D input to the robot by getting an overall 3D view of the pallet, detects all cases possible, selects the highest or closest case to be moved, monitors the motion of the robot as it places the case, and progressively moves through the stack of boxes.
The sensor system uses a combination of cameras, structured light sensors, and time of flight sensors of various frequencies for identifying SKU position. It generates X, Y, Z position and Rx, Ry, Rz pose values as needed for each box, then interfaces directly to the robot controllers through a PC.