Wiring electrical appliances such as lighting modules is a dull task yet it requires precision and absolute reliability as one defective contact could cause malfunction of the whole system. No wonder this task is a perfect candidate for automation, as robots can perform this task faster than humans.
System Robot Automazione (SRA), an industrial robotics company from Visano near Brescia (Italy), has a long track record in designing and manufacturing automation systems for the lighting industry. Its latest robot Syndy combines high-precision robotics with an advanced vision system that makes it even more flexible and intelligent.
Universal wiring head offers full flexibility
Syndy is based on a Kawasaki 6-axis robot providing high accuracy and speed of movement. It rolls out electric cable, cuts it, strips ends and connects them fully automatically.
The arm of the robot is fitted with an innovative wiring head designed by SRA. This sturdy and universal wiring unit is equipped with two wiring fingers. It can wire horizontal and 90° push-in terminals as well as IDC terminals during the same operation cycle. This capability allows equipping the same lamp housing with all kind of standard components, from different suppliers, and with both technologies. This offers a high flexibility to luminary manufacturers as the system leaves them full freedom of choice of their components.
The module to be wired is positioned in front of the robot on a worktable by means of mechanical centering pins held by a static magnet system. The flexible worktable is quickly set up: reference and fixing elements for the device are easily positioned without tools thanks to the holes matrix and the magnetic fixtures.
Vision system with AVT Manta camera ensures perfect connections
Syndy is available with an optional vision system featuring a Manta G-046B monochrome camera from Allied Vision Technologies. Once the lighting module has been positioned on the worktable, the image processing application checks that it is correctly positioned and that all components to be connected are present. Should the system detect deviations from a memorized reference master, a visual indicator alerts the operator and anomalies are displayed on a screen. The wiring process cannot be started as long as the problems have not been solved. This preliminary inspection ensures that the preset positions of the arm will perfectly fit with the device to be wired.
An even more advanced version of the system consists in analyzing the actual position of each component and adjusting the wiring program accordingly. That way, the robot adapts to variances in the module’s geometry that may occur during the manufacturing process within specific tolerances.
“Manta offers best price/performance ratio”
The AVT Manta G-046B is a rugged industrial camera with XGA resolution (780 x 580 pixels) and a GigE Vision interface. It delivers 67 fps at full resolution. With the Gigabit Ethernet interface, cable length is no issue to connect the camera at the end of the arm to the system’s host PC.
“We selected this camera because it offers the right accuracy and high-speed image capture thanks to its high frame rate”, explains Marino Chiappa, Sales Manager of SRA. “The Manta offers the best price/performance ratio in my opinion. We have been working with AVT cameras for 20 years now and never experienced any problems”.
The camera is fitted with a 16mm lens from Tuss Vision and a green band-pass filter from Midwest Optical Systems. The object is illuminated with a green LED flash ring which, in combination with the filter, allows for high contrast images of the components to be inspected. This ensures appropriate lighting of the object regardless of varying lighting conditions in the room, as the robot is not enclosed in a cabin with controlled lighting.
Image S, Allied Vision Technologies distribution partner in Italy, provided all optical hardware components including the Manta camera. The images are processed using Cognex Vision Pro software. Cognex is an AVT certified vision software partner and supports AVT cameras for an easy system integration.
Syndy is available in various configurations depending on the number and the nature of the tasks to be performed by the robot, including testing the electrical connections. Shortly after its market introduction, it has already been successfully implemented at leading manufacturers of luminaries. “Thanks to this advanced automation system, manufacturers of luminaries around the world can secure the quality and reliability of their products while improving productivity by eliminating the need for a final quality inspection and potential corrections”, says Chiappa.