Nidec strengthens innovative capacity thanks to mobile robots

To keep production processes lean and stocks low, the automotive supplier, NIDEC GPM Group, relies on the autonomous mobile robots from Mobile Industrial Robots: at its location in the Thuringian municipality of Auengrund, three MiR100 robots, equipped with the MiRHook towing system, transport material and empty containers between the warehouse and assembly lines. The freed-up human resources can be converted into productive time. Such innovative capacity is a prerequisite for NIDEC to remain competitive.

For about 70 years, the current NIDEC GPM Group has been developing innovative pump solutions for the automotive industry. The manufacturer, based in the Thuringian municipality of Auengrund, is considered a technology leader and continues to set new standards in the field of pump technology. Taken over three years ago by the Japanese NIDEC Group, the former family-owned company now wants to successfully establish itself on the market as e-mobility progresses in order to remain competitive in the long term. Above all, a strong focus on research and development is crucial for this. Of the 1,200 employees at the German location, one in ten is already employed in this area today. In order to use the existing capacities as efficiently as possible, NIDEC GPM has increasingly relied on the Lean principle since the acquisition to avoid wasting resources and to maximise performance.


The company increasingly incorporates state-of-the-art robotics solutions on its production lines. In light of this, it seemed only logical to automate internal material flow as well. Those responsible went in search of a driverless transport system that could manage without structural changes to the infrastructure and could be implemented quickly. Finally, at a trade fair, they came across the autonomous mobile transport robots from Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR). “The robots immediately won us over with their great flexibility,” recalls Andreas Vogt, Deputy Production Manager and Lean Expert at NIDEC GPM. Equipped with sophisticated sensor technology and safety algorithms, the agile MiR robots manouvre independently and safely – also in the vicinity of their human colleagues. They recognise obstacles such as objects or employees from a distance and always move around them or make a safety stop. As a result, there is no need for magnetic strips or rails – exactly what the people responsible for the plant in Auengrund had been looking for.

MiR alla Nidec


After a brief test phase, the decision to acquire robots from MiR was soon made. In close collaboration with the local system integrator, the company successively introduced three MiR100s with the MiRHook towing system in two different production areas. Thanks to their uncomplicated commissioning process, NIDEC GPM was able to quickly integrate them into the current processes. Before their first mission, the robots first travelled all over the factory floor and mapped out their future working environment. For this the robots rely on a powerful laser scanner. On this basis, the mobile robots can get their bearings later on and independently find the fastest way to the destination. Finally, the hook enables them to grip carts and shelf trolleys ideally and move up to 300 kilos per journey. They autonomously navigate between storage and assembly areas, transporting oil pump lids, water pump bearings and drive shafts to where they are needed.

MiR alla Nidec

11 km of travel saved per robot on a daily basis

Franz Scheibe, Team Leader for Assembly, programs the mobile robots for their daily tasks. For this he uses the fleet management software MiR Fleet, which is incorporated in all three robots. “A typical journey looks like this: when the robot is summoned by an employee, it starts from its waiting position in the ‘supermarket’, which is the area where all our parts are in stock. Then it hooks up to the appropriately loaded cart, which it recognises by a QR code, and sets off”. When driving, the robot beeps so that the employees hear it despite the machine noise and do not accidentally run it over.

“With the material in the cargo area, the robot then moves to the assembly line where the respective parts are needed”, continues Scheibe. “It uncouples the full cart and takes an empty one back in return. It transports the empty cart back to the warehouse before returning to its waiting position in the ‘supermarket’”. On the way, the robots also independently cross a lock gate, which opens in contact with a magnetic loop in the ground. On average, each robot covers eleven kilometres a day – a distance that the employees now do not have to walk. Scheibe sums up as follows: “Imagine this: we have the robots operating around the clock, five days a week. This saves our employees a lot of walking and thus a lot of work time”.

mir robots keep stocks low

In one production area of the Thuringian plant, a mobile robot supplies the employees with material at an almost fully automated plant. Two robots are in use in another area, where they supply ten assembly lines there with components. This used to be done by a logistician, says Andreas Vogt. “In those days, there was usually too much material on the assembly lines – and that is of course an unnecessary cost”. Today, the robots supply the employees at the machines with exactly the amount of material they need at the right moment. For NIDEC GPM foreman Johannes Otto, the impact on everyday working life is clearly noticeable: “We have much less material in the production area than before. This saves a lot of space”. Fully in keeping with the Lean principle, NIDEC GPM can optimise its stock and keep storage costs low.

Nevertheless, some employees initially had doubts about their new robot colleagues, says Johannes Otto. “At first, even I had a bit of a concern about it. But then I quickly realised: this is progress and helps us in our daily work. That’s a good thing”. The robots are only relieving employees of repetitive transportation tasks. Add to that the fact they’re easy to handle – and the misgivings quickly disappeared. “The robots are really super intuitive to use”, says Franz Scheibe. “My colleagues quickly learned to generate new orders and get supplies”. They use a web-based interface that can be accessed via a tablet, mobile or computer.

MiR alla Nidec


With MiR technology, NIDEC GPM has found a cost-effective way to automate its internal material flow. The acquisition of two more robots is already in the planning stage. Currently, the MiR100 frees up the resources of one full-time employee. Amongst other things, this eases the burden and contributes to a greater focus on productive work time. In addition, resources are pooled in the area of research and development. This is an important aspect, as NIDEC GPM soon wants to offer its customers technological solutions and advantages with regard to electrically driven pumps “The area of R&D is the basis on which we can develop our sustainable and innovative technologies”, explains Andreas Vogt. “By automating intralogistics with mobile robots, we are also keeping pace with innovative solutions in production”. With this approach, the company is laying the foundation for remaining competitive in the automotive market of the future.

MiR robots are working at Visteon to improve productivity

A fleet of seven autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) from Mobile Industrial Robots (MiR) works around the clock to optimize the transportation of raw materials to its production and storage lines while improving the work environment.

As the only Tier 1 supplier exclusively dedicated to cabin electronics, and with the broadest product portfolio in this segment, Visteon is in an unrivaled position to meet the needs of automobile manufacturers of smart digital cabins for electric and automatic vehicles. The company’s mission is to guarantee that drivers and passengers can interact easily, efficiently and safely with a vehicle’s sophisticated technology. To stay competitive in a fast-changing market, Visteon is constantly looking automate its workflow. For example, Visteon faced numerous challenges with its internal logistics as its employees manually transported raw materials from the warehouse to the production lines and returned with finished products. This undermined productivity increased the risk of physical injuries and slowed transportation times.


To overcome these challenges, the company looked for an automated, traceable, autonomous, flexible and scalable solution that could work through three continuous shifts and could automatically link the warehouse area with the production. Moreover, Visteon needed a system that could support the personnel operating inside the facilities, since their work was negatively affected by the manual processes that resulted in long transportation times and physical risks associated with pushing heavy carts.

Visteon decided to implement a fleet of seven MiR100 robots from Mobile Industrial Robots, the global market leader of AMRs. With these collaborative robots, Visteon aimed to improve and expand the autonomy of the company’s internal logistics, facilitate the remote control of the mobile robots, while being able to trace the delivery of material and overall increase increase staff productivity.

Six of the mobile robots are now constantly on the move between the warehouse and production, while one robot automatically picks up and delivers electronic component reels to and from the SMT machines. Visteon can constantly monitor the AMRs, which increases the efficiency of the internal material transportation.

“With the addition of innovative MiR technologies, we’ve improved the functioning and operability of the production plant by connecting our production and storage areas to transport our products and raw materials,” said Arturo Robledo Ulloa, plant manager, Visteon Reynosa. “In addition, these robots enable our workers to be more productive as they focus on tasks that provide greater value for the company.”

One MIR100 robot can deliver materials to three production lines singlehandedly, and and this automated and autonomous transportation has significantly increased the factory’s productivity. “All of our robots are working three shifts a day, so the robots have hugely increased our capacity,” Ulloa added.


Visteon’s operational team is responsible for assembling and reviewing plant activity. They record the finished products and coordinate the transportation. The entire operation is coordinated from the monitoring center, tracking the mobile robots through the user-friendly management software, MiR Fleet.

“The communication the robots use is very simple,” said Julián Méndez Guerrero, Automatization Engineer of Visteon. “With MiR Fleet, we can keep accurate track of all the robots and their tasks from one command screen at all times. The robots can even communicate with each other to guarantee the most efficient delivery routes.”

Via MiR Fleet, all robotic information is concentrated in a single system, which simplifies the internal transportation and the work with the robots. The real-time monitoring enables Visteon to keep track of their components and ensure on-time deliveries of the right materials from the warehouse to production.


At Visteon, the mobile robots are contributing to a better work environment by taking over the heavy lifting from the employees and saving them many steps – and wasted time – each day. The robots drive completely autonomously and avoid all obstacles on their routes, including people and other robots. The robots are therefore able to navigate in the same workspace as the employees. Fortunately, due to the tasks that the robots have taken over, Visteon’s employees have come to see the robots as their colleagues.

MiR is an open source system that allows customers to develop solutions that are customized for their needs. Consequently, Visteon developed its own interface for the robots, one that allows employees to summon a robot with a single push on a button at the kiosk lines, making the robots especially easy to work with for the employees.



Process automation comes from Sicily

Even in Sicily there are examples of companies specialized in process automation. An example comes from ‘Controllogic’. We see several examples of systems built with the integration of Hyundai Robots, distributed in Italy by K.L.A.IN.robotics. The company, realizing the potential of the island, has also recently opened its own office in Catania.

Controllogic is a sicilian company specialized in the automation of industrial processes. Its daily goal is to study the process and make the operational flow safe, standardized, fast and repeatable. This is achieved both through the use of PLC and HMI of the latest generation, such as in the design of ultrasonic nougat cutting systems, control of mixing and pasteurization processes of food products and the revamping of obsolete machines, but also and especially through the use of industrial robots (anthropomorphic and collaborative). The use of the robot aims to achieve important goals in the current approach of the industrial process.

Controllogic has, for example, automated the loading of an incinerator of infected sanitary and medical waste equipments, potentially dangerous for the operator, through the use of a Hyundai robot that feeds, in total autonomy, the incinerator to which operators are no longer exposed. The Hyundai robot is distributed in Italy by K.L.A.IN.Robotics that, in a better perspective, has recently opened an office in Sicily and particularly in Catania.

Safety for the operator, high quality for the consumer and increased quality standards of the final product: these are the finals goals that every day we achieve through the latest technologies in industrial automation.

to dispose sanitary waste

Still in the field of sanitary waste disposal, Controllogic was involved in the design of a system built by a Hyundai robot programmed to manage the containers of human biological fluids. The cycle of the robot includes: the suction of liquid waste from the containers, the convoy of this waste to a chemical equalization plant, the washing and internal sanitization of the containers with ozonated water, to allow the reuse of the same materials and subsequent positioning of the empties in two parking platforms.

Controllogic has elaborated the packaging process of preserves making the flow totally autonomous, from the sealing phase to the palletizing phase thanks to the use of Hyundai and Denso robots, making sure that the food material is not exposed to the operator, increasing food safety to the benefit of the end user.

other examples of processes

A fully automated process created by Controllogic is a system of spraying gels and resins on steel surfaces used for the construction of refrigerated trailers. The process, automated through a Hyundai robot, makes the spraying system uniform and guarantees a high and always repeatable quality standard, moreover it does not expose the operator to the vapors of chemicals potentially harmful to health.

Other examples of automated processes in these years are different. One concerns the palletizing of bags of inert material by using robots that control the packaging machine upstream of the process and the roller conveyor with platform storage downstream of the working cycle. Another example is the automation of the packaging of coffee stirrers by two Hyundai robots. The process consists at first of a robot that takes care to pick up the coffee stirrers and deliver them on the conveyor belt towards the collection and counting cups. The processing cycle continues with a second Hyundai robot that takes care of the pallet pick-up from one of the two cups of collection and deposit in a vertical packaging machine.

A third example is an integrated automation system that uses a robot for palletizing boxes full of 8 and 12 bricks, consisting of 250 ml, 500 ml, 750 ml and 1,000 ml. In this case, the robot picks the boxes up deposit them on the pallet to form the layer layout automatically.

There are other examples: an automatic dispenser system of “stick” surprises to be inserted in food containers in the packaging line, or a system designed to handle food-grade cutting dies. In the last case, the robot cycle provides to pick-up the die-cut packs and then place them and store them on the packaging machine.


RMO, September 2020

3 MiR1000 optimize warehouse logistics at Icm

Use robots where it makes sense, and people to do higher-value tasks. That’s the philosophy behind the design of the entire logistics flow of wholesale company ICM. The company’s Odense high-rise warehouse operates with manned trucks that move along narrow aisles formed by racks that reach 12 m high, removing or placing pallets in position in the racks. MiR robots deliver pallets in a steady stream to the ends of the aisles. Experienced logistics personnel in the warehouse receiving area solve complex tasks, while ensuring the robots take care of the internal transport tasks. The automated pallet transport setup has saved 40 hours a week. Time that the personnel can now spend on more complex and higher-value activities.

The high-tech warehouse with its myriad of pallet transport operations running from 07:00-22:00, is located in Odense. Tonnes of goods arrive at the ICM logistics centre every year on a total of 31,000 pallets. The ICM staff manage 100,000 orders a year, most of these next-day deliveries. ICM is one of Scandinavia’s leading suppliers of personal protective and technical equipment and work environment solutions.

Space is limited. Customers are impatient. Competition is fierce. This means that time, personnel and space must be utilised optimally.

“Thanks to an investment in three mobile MiR1000 robots, three employees now save several hours each on daily activities. They no longer have to spend time manually moving pallets from a stacker to the aisles in the high-rise warehouse.” Instead, they can place the pallets on special MiR racks, from which the robots collect the pallets and transport them to the aisles inside the high-rise warehouse. The MiR robots leave the pallets at the end the aisles to be collected by high-reach trucks that place them in the relevant racks.

“The high-reach truck operators automatically report when they have taken a pallet from a rack, so I can just press a button on the tablet screen and send one more MiR robot on a mission. This way the robots ensure the high-reach trucks are always supplied with pallets”, says Jesper Lorenzen, Warehouse Assistant and responsible for goods reception at ICM A/S.


The high-reach truck operators use a map on a tablet in the truck to see at all times where the small robots are, and the mobile robots make themselves noticeable using audio signals and lights in the busiest areas. This means that there is a close collaboration between the trucks and the robots and in a company with constant internal traffic, communication between vehicles is vital to avoid different machines blocking each other’s path.

ICM has made a dedicated route for the mobile robots, freeing space for other traffic in the logistics centre. Previously, space was very cramped because of the many operations with manual stackers on the main traffic routes, which have now been replaced by the MiR robots. MiR’s fleet management software, MiR Fleet, also ensures that the tasks are distributed between the mobile robots, so that it is the robot that can carry out the task in the shortest time that is chosen, and it also ensures that the three mobile robots automatically move to a charging station and charge up between tasks, so that downtime is optimised.

Overall, the mobile robots have saved approximately 40 hours a week at ICM, time that the staff previously spent on internal transport, moving goods between the receiving area and the positioning areas. These employees can now focus on higher value activities, i.e. planning and optimisation: Assessing, handling and prioritising the pallets and the contents is a complicated task that requires insight and experience because many parameters must be taken into consideration. Therefore, these tasks must be solved by people.

“The robots have saved time, which we can now use to optimise the warehouse and fine-tune flow. We have become used to the new technology and have learned to work in a completely different way. The more we apply it, the more time we save through automation using mobile robots” says Jesper Lorenzen.


Logistics at the high-rise warehouse now proceed smoothly, using a modern mix of employees, mobile robots and trucks. ICM’s setup consists of three mobile robots, four manned high-reach trucks, 10 manual stackers and 26 dedicated employees.

The mobile robots have not just increased efficiency at ICM. According to Brian Brandt, Warehouse Manager at ICM, they have also improved the working environment. He sees many positive perspectives on investing in technology that both increases capacity and job satisfaction.

“It’s just so much fun working with mobile robots. Being able to move something from A to B without even touching it, that’s really cool. The design of the MiR robots is so simple and user-friendly that I could take a new colleague in from off the street, and they would also think they’re logical to use,” says Brian Brandt and smiles as he observes a MiR1000 robot moving past, carrying a 600 kg load of cleaning cloths on a pallet.


Søren Jepsen, Supply Chain Director at ICM A/S, explains that devising the optimal workflow for the entire flow of traffic and transport of goods in the logistics centre has been a learning process.

“Our warehouse uses the chaotic storage principle, managed by a warehouse management system. We must be geared to be able to drop everything in order to be able to deliver within 24 hours to our customers in Denmark. This means it’s about using our resources shrewdly. We’re investing in new technology in order to safeguard our staff and to attract new, talented people,” says Søren Jepsen.

At ICM, the management sees clear potential in automating more processes. Right now, it is the flow from the good receiving area to the storage aisles, but in the long term, ICM will also automate transport from picking to the delivery of goods and get even more benefit from the robots.

ICM A/S was established in 1946 and since then it has growth through organic growth and the acquisition of companies related to safety and hygiene. It has an annual turnover of approximately DKK 400 million.


MiR at ICM

Publitec online, 29 Giugno 2020

Storage robots will be a part of the new multi-house at Billund Airport

Billund Airport are experiencing a strong increase in the number of passengers. The airport is therefore expanding the terminal with a new multi-house, and Tax-free will be engaging in a close collaboration with storage robots.


Billund Airport are doing well. A significant increase in the number of travelers have been characterizing the last couple of years. 2018 was another record year, where Billund Airport could publish a growth of 3,9%in passenger numbers. 3,5 million people had chosen to travel through the airport during the year.

billund airport order fulfillment

Billund Airport are therefore focusing particularly on capacity. That is why they are expanding with a 6.650 square meter large building at the passenger terminal. The extra building is a prerequisite for the airport to continue the growth, which has been characteristic for the last several years. The new multi-house is to improve a long line of work processes and provide an ideal utilization of space. For this reason, the new multi-house will be containing storage robots.


There will be a direct access between the multi-house of four floors and the current terminal, containing Billund Airport’s Tax-free shop. The storage robots from EffiMat will be fulfilling a storage function, but also provide fast picking for the customers in Tax-free. The storage robot, the EffiMat, can also be defined as a “vertical lift module” but is 4-5 times faster than the traditional lifts on the market. As Billund Airport have experienced an increase in passengers during the last couple of years, the square meters of the new multi-house must be cleverly utilized.

A clever utilization is possible due to the storage robots, which will operate vertically and utilize the height of the warehouse. An EffiMat® will reduce waste of space, the picking speed will be improved, and the employees will be provided with good ergonomic working conditions.

Magazzino verticale EffimatMagazzino verticale Effimat



By utilizing EffiMat® to handle storage and picking, Billund Airport will experience additional significant advantages, which will improve the efficiency of work processes and secure a fast and precise delivery to the Tax–free shop. The warehouse used to be situated in the old terminal and valuable time were spent on internal transport. The new multi-house enables that warehouse and Tax–free will be situated in the same place and available on the ground-floor for storage and on the second floor for picking.

The EffiMat® will be installed in the area around the multi-house, where the goods for Tax-free will be delivered to in the future. The goods will be delivered directly to the storage robots and the warehouse. The employees in Tax–free on the second floor can pick directly from the storage robots. An interface between the ERP-system of the airport and the EffiMat® registers real-time when an item has been bought in the shop and the EffiMat® then ensures to pick the correct item and deliver it to be refilled in the Tax–free shop. This integration ensures that the item is always ready and available for a fast and correct delivery.

By integrating the storage robot as part of the work processes in the multi-house, Billund Airport are securing an ideal utilization of their capacity, along with efficient work processes and the airport will be well equipped for continuing their growth and their line of record years.

The new buildings are expected to be done by the end of 2019.

Working in synergy for high-speed assembly


With the collaboration of K.L.A.IN.robotics, ADAT created a system for the high-speed assembly of faucets. The machine can reach a flow of 40 pieces/min, even different from each other, thus ensuring flexibility and zeroing of set-up times.

The consultancy and technical service of K.L.A.IN.robotics are the driving force to create solid and lasting partnerships. Proof of this, it is the historic collaboration established with ADAT, a company specializing in the design and implementation of complete and integrated industrial automation solutions. Thanks to the support of K.L.A.IN.robotics, ADAT has created a system for the high-speed assembly of a faucet, developed for a Sicilian company that manufactures irrigation components. The machine is currently in production with a flow capable to reach 40 pieces / min, changing the format in a few seconds.

Since 1987, ADAT proposes itself as a partner for the industry, supplying automation systems tailored to every need. The company carries out all the project phases internally, starting from the problem analysis strategy, up to the delivery of the “turnkey” system. The activity of ADAT is based on the use of systems using robots or newly developed systems with dedicated mechanics, the management of axis controls regardless of PC or PLC, the use of the most varied types of sensors, as well as putting all this in communication with database for the acquisition of processing data rather than for the communication of results. Here is the role of K.L.A.IN.robotics, which is ready to offer its consolidated experience and offer the best solution in terms of efficiency and costs by applying cutting-edge quality components.

from disarranged components to a precise assembly

The machine is the result of the encounter of ADAT with a Sicilian company producing irrigation components and, specifically, plastic faucets. The first step in the project was to study the production system to create a machine that can flexibly cover the entire production.

The goal of the system was to process the high-speed assembly of the faucet, ensuring flexibility in the management of about one hundred different models and the zeroing of set-up time. The operation consists of feeding the basic components starting from the bulk, the valves, the bodies (about 100 different shapes and sizes) and the O-rings that must be mounted on the valve after being accurately lubricated. In addition to assembly, the system checks that all the processes take place correctly, managing the correct assembly of the O-Rings and the valve itself on the body via cameras. The challenge was successfully met thanks to the collaboration with the customer, optimizing the process through the use of different technologies provided by the network of ADAT partners, including K.L.A.IN.robotics.


If feeding pieces with identical shape and size is not a problem, it is a whole different story when it comes to handling very different pieces, maintaining high positioning precision and with no need for mechanical format changes. ADAT needed a flexible vision guided robotic system that can be completely and easily programmed by the operator, so that the pieces fed in bulk were collected by a camera-driven robot.

The vision guided robotic system was completely developed by ADAT.

However, the know-how of KLAIN.robotics also came into play here, as they provided ADAT with a DENSO robot, which was then implemented with a flexible vision guided robotic system. This made it possible to manage hundreds of body models, in addition to guarantee future compatibility, given the extremely easy system programming in case of new pieces. A camera checks the correct assembly of the O-Rings, which cannot be verified after assembly, thus solving any non-compliance at the source. Moreover, a second camera analyzes the correct insertion of the valve on the body, avoiding the presence on the market of damaged or not conforming pieces.

Lavorare in sinergia per un assemblaggio ad alta velocità


Robhofeed for the robotic enslavement in the cosmetic field

Successful partnerships bring benefits to all the contractors involved, thanks to the sharing of all the technical know-how and other skills. K.L.A.IN.robotics, leader in the distribution of robots for the Factory Automation and Mechatronic components on the Italian market, has always believed in collaborations.

One of them was established with DECA, company specialized in the creation of industrial vibrators and enslavement systems. This partnership has been going on for over 10 years and it has led to the creation of high-performance systems, reliable and customizable.

Versatility, therefore, in creating machinery that can operate efficiently on different items and details, rapidly changing the formats of the products to process and, at the same time, the ability to serve the most varied sectors, from cosmetics to automotive.


“Our collaboration with K.L.A.IN.robotics started in 2010, when we built our first vision system. Since then, we have come a long way and so far, this partnership has given us positive results in every respect: from the quality of the proposed solutions, to the availability of technical and design assistance, up to the fast service”, Andrea De Capitani, CEO of DECA.

“Our desire is to fulfill the most particular and complex customer requests, facing the difficulties and being able to go beyond them, where others struggled to reach. With the help of K.L.A.IN.robotics we can state that we have achieved the goal”.

K.L.A.IN.robotics also provides technical advice and support, thus managing to select and propose the most beneficial and efficient products. The fruit of all this work is Robhofeed, the robotic enslavement machine designed for the customer Sorini & Migliavacca, international leader in the production of brushes and applicators in the cosmetic packaging sector.

The plant can process products that could not be handled with traditional systems, providing unprecedented versatility on various details, ensuring the possibility of having an instant format change, manageable and programmable from the panel.

Robhofeed therefore offers unoriented gripping solutions, removing any joints or machine downtimes, by the use of anthropomorphic or SCARA robots, guided by a vision system able to perfectly coordinate the robotic gripping.

Accurate O-Ring inspection without neglecting cycle time

A six-axis and a SCARA robot, manufactured by Denso and distributed in Italy by K.L.AI.N.robotics, an advanced bin picking system and, of course, a vision system relying on four hi-res linear cameras and LED backlight are among the key ingredients of a machine for the visual inspection of O-rings made by Doss Visual Solution and addressed to the Japanese market. We went to see how it was possible to achieve all this in a cycle time of less than 11 seconds.

“Let’s check”, says the doss visual solution payoff

And it is precisely visual inspection, with a high level of automation and innovation, the specialisation of the Brescia-based company, which has both its production site and showroom in Erbusco. A company active since 1995 and truly global in scope, with interests not only in Italy and Europe, but also in North America and the Far East.

Machines for quality control and visual inspection, therefore, with an important focus on the control of key components in manufacturing such as the O-rings. And a well-equipped and skilled engineering department, able to customize each time the machines according to the customer’s request. Because, although in many cases they have a shared core, especially as for handling parts, these machines are truly tailor-made, called upon to combine extreme control accuracy with maximum productivity.


What is most striking about entering the Doss Visual Solution workshop is the number of machines being built. We would fill in a complete issue of our magazine if we talked about all the machines we have seen. But we can’t, so we focus on an innovative and technologically engaging system. We rely on Fabio Cadenelli, Head of Automation and Electrical Department, to find out more. “The customer who commissioned us with this machine, to be delivered in Japan, has to measure O-rings with a diameter of at least 80 mm, and cross-sections of 2.5 mm, up to 200 mm diameter with a cross-section of 6. We decided to install four linear cameras, each of them scanning a section of the O-ring at very high resolution. This is the heart of the machine. But we’ll get there. Let’s rather introduce the system. The geometrically complex structure was designed to minimize vibrations, which could negatively affect performance as well as the footprint, reduced by almost half compared to the previous versions.


The work cycle, which has a time of 11 seconds for the largest O-rings in terms of size, begins with a six-axis Denso robot in charge of bin-picking the pieces from a container placed on a pull-out trolley. “In agreement with the customer, we chose the Denso robots because we consider them to be particularly suited to the needs of the vision”, says Mr Cadenelli. “The first robot is a six-axis one because, since we had to pick up pieces randomly from the container, we wanted a robot that could reach any corner: the system is, in fact, able to map the bottom of the container as well, avoiding possible collisions. The bin picking system uses a 3D scanner that, thanks to a structured laser light, generates various types of patterns on the surface of the pieces and gives life to a cloud of points useful for establishing the gripping coordinates”.

Speaking of gripping, the gripper mounted on the robot, developed in collaboration with Euclid, integrates a vacuum system – which initially picks up the piece individually and lifts it slightly – and a mechanical gripper that brings the O-ring on a table used as a buffer to reduce cycle time. The system also relies on a second camera that checks that the gripper has only picked one O-ring.


The second phase of the cycle, crucial for inspection, starts with the O-ring on the rotary table. Here, the Denso SCARA robot comes into action. We ask Fabio Cadenelli why did they choose this type of robot. “At this stage of the process, the picking, control and storage positions are known. A six-axis robot would therefore have been wasted. Furthermore, the SCARA allows us to mount a gripper with a complex structure and, above all, capable of managing heavy weights by moving the workpiece at high speed. The gripper, which picks up the O-ring and keeps it in tension for inspection – Mr Cadenelli specifies – has a special design with a self-centering system in order to adapt to the different cross-sections of the O-rings, from 2 to 8 mm, without having to add any tools. The goal is that the workpiece is stable enough during rotation.

The heart of the machine is the control station, which can count on a lighting system specifically designed for this application. “In vision, light is the essential element”, says the Head of Automation and Electrical Department at Doss. “Having a camera with the best possible resolution may be a waste if the light distribution is not homogeneous, as the result will not be optimal. The four hi-res Teledyne Dalsa linear cameras, in combination with the SCARA robot that slightly rotates the piece, scan the full image of the O-ring”.

The backlight system with the latest generation LED lights, equipped with a totally custom geometry, is therefore essential to ensure maximum accuracy of inspection. The cameras’ handling device is completely automatic: an important feature because, when the geometry of the piece changes, the electronic axes can be automatically adjusted, so as to always have the best focus on the piece.

“As an additional precaution, the LEDs are angled so that the light does not illuminate the O-ring perpendicularly, thus creating a sort of shadow effect that allows users to identify even the most complex defects to be detected. Our main goal is to cover all the areas of the O-ring that need to be checked”.


What are the main elements to be considered when checking the O-rings? “Because of its very structure, rubber is subject to elastic effects. The backlighting system we have designed, in addition to allowing us to accurately detect the thickness of each section of the O-ring in six different positions, also enables us to identify any defects generated during the closing stage of the mold. A crucial stage indeed, because right there some sealing issues might happen”, explains Mr Cadenelli.

Other important features of the machine are the brushless technology for the motion part, the integration between standard and safe PLCs, the latest generation safety barriers with safety locks to prevent accidental access, as well as the presence of sensors to detect any faulty O-ring on the conveyor belt of the controlled O-rings”.

The software, developed internally by Doss Visual Solutions, allows users to define the windows to be adapted to the features of the piece and contains custom algorithms, able to provide actual measurements of the defect and to define the thresholds of classification. According to the customer’s indications, it is also possible to set the quantity of pieces to be checked and, thanks to the information on average productivity, to make a forecast of the time needed to check a defined quantity of O-rings, the latter useful for planning and production management purposes.

Ispezione accurata degli O-ring senza rinunciare al tempo ciclo

MiR the solution for the management of intralogistics

MiR, that is distributed by K.L.A.IN.robotics, is the acronym of “Mobile Industrial Robots”, a Danish company that has tripled its turnover in just one year and aims to reach € 27 million by 2018. The driver of this growth was the technological development that earned him numerous awards and recognitions as an innovative product in the field of internal logistics. MiR produces AMR, Autonomous Mobile Robot, truly autonomous collaborative robots. This robot has the peculiarity of not using external sensors to it and having a continuous feedback from those mounted for a correct navigation. This navigation dynamically adapts as it is sufficient to use two positions and the robot will calculate autonomously each time the shortest route to move from one location to another. After processing the various solutions available, he is able to instantly choose the best one in terms of space / time ratio. It also has the ability to communicate with other machines and therefore to do enslavement and / or be enslaved. It is also autonomous in recharging, regulated by the internal software. It is possible to mount additional cameras for greater precision and by default uses an Intel 3D Real Sense camera to optimize navigation (it is used only for this purpose and not in the safety circuit). If there is a fixed or mobile obstacle, such as a person in transit, it is programmed to find a different trajectory and bypass it. The use, at least for now, is only intended for indoor use, to avoid malfunctions due to interference from sunlight with sensors or infiltration of liquids. MiR is a product that can be used in companies of any sector, where it is necessary to move components or equipment between different departments.

Taken from ‘Il Sole 24 Ore” dated 20 June 2018


Robots more capable and efficient using cloud platforms

Starting the way to a new level of applications in Industry 4.0 / IOT, Denso Robotics and its partners have recently shown how industrial automation in “smart factories” can be even more efficient, safe and reliable, making the best use of software and existing technologies. Focus of the demonstration of the “Deniot” project, the Denso VS060 robot and the Azure cloud platform from Microsoft were used, a collection of integrated cloud services such as: data processing, database, mobile, networking, data storage and website. The demonstration took place at the all-important Microsoft .Net Conference in Madrid, Spain. It has been shown that robot performance can be significantly optimized by exploiting all the advantages of a cloud platform, such as those offered by Azure. The platform was connected to the Denso robot controller to collect and analyze data, using Big data analytics and other techniques. This data was then transformed into operational information. In the demonstration, the VS060 robot was programmed to perform up to 9 different movements, especially pick-and-place. “Our goal was to demonstrate how it is possible to optimize the robot’s performance using existing technologies and processes. By observing and analyzing robot data, we are not only able to interact with it and control it from anywhere, but we have also simplified machine learning, which further improves efficiency and performance, “says Pablo Olivares. Denso robots are particularly suitable for Industry 4.0 / Iot applications since the RC8 Controller is highly flexible and simple to integrate. This is fundamental, given that key to every successful IOT solution is simple, fast and reliable coordination of all the parts that make up the system. There are many platforms that Denso RC8 controller can work with, including LabView, Halcon or Plc Industrial network (eg ProfiNet, ProfiBus, etc.). For “Deniot” project, Orin was the most important. Orin (Open resource interface for the network) a software development interface, which allows to interact with robots in high language levels such as C #, C ++, etc. This single programming capability allows very simple integration of software platforms between Denso robot and Microsoft Azure. During the demonstration, robot was also checked using Cortana, the recognition and assistance software developed by Microsoft. Among al movements performed by the VS060 robot, the last one  received the most success among people, that was the robot that takes a selfie.

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