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

Moving parts from a bin to a precise location has required repetitive human agility or talent to address vision, programming and robotic integration challenges. A pre-integrated kit can shorten time to productivity, helping machine tending and pick-and-place robotic applications. See May 12 live webcast and 7 tips below.

By Mark T. Hoske April 30, 2020

 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 

Get pick-and-place answers live 

Learn more about pick and place robots’ benefits and applications in a May 12 webcast, Resolve robotic challenges using bin-picking intelligence.” Listen live for faster answers: Engage with the presenter live by reviewing audience poll results and get your questions answered during the question and answer session at the end. The webcast will be archived for a year, afterward broadcast. (Also see links to related collaborative robot webcasts below.) 

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: 

  1. Combine real-time autonomous motion control, collaborative robotics, vision and sensor systems in an easytouse, 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 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 widelyused 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 pickandplace kit minimizes floor space and reduces the need for part-specific tooling.  

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

KEYWORDS :Collaborative robots, pick and place, bin picking 

Pick-and-place bin-picking robotic applications can be complex. 

Collaborative robots with pre-designed kits and integrated software help. 


Look at this article online for more images and webcasts below for more collaborative robot application information. 


Four collaborative robot webcasts 

  • Resolve robotic challenges using bin-picking intelligence: Learn about pick and place robots’ benefits and applications  
  • The ROI of collaborative robots  
  • Plug-and-play peripherals for collaborative robots  
  • Collaborative robots are now skilled welders, what’s next?  

ONLINE extra

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. 

Original content can be found at Control Engineering.

Author Bio: Mark Hoske has been Control Engineering editor/content manager since 1994 and in a leadership role since 1999, covering all major areas: control systems, networking and information systems, control equipment and energy, and system integration, everything that comprises or facilitates the control loop. He has been writing about technology since 1987, writing professionally since 1982, and has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism degree from UW-Madison.