Exploring Bin Picking Technology: An Insightful Conversation with Marcel Burk from MPA Technology

Introduction to Marcel Burk and His Experience with Bin Picking

Marcel Burk is the Head of Business Development at MPA Technology, where he has been working for four and a half years. MPA Technology is a full-service partner offering automation solutions across the entire process chain, from feeding to packaging. Marcel was involved in the early development and market launch of one of the first standardized Bin Picking systems.

Understanding Bin Picking in Practice

What can be understood by "Bin Picking" in practice?

Marcel explains Bin Picking as, "In layman's terms, Bin Picking is often referred to as 'picking from the box.' While it may sound relatively mundane, its complexity and usefulness become apparent upon closer inspection. It involves the automated retrieval of components, typically as a secondary process to facilitate subsequent processes such as assembly or inspection."

Typical Use Cases of Bin Picking for Customers

How do typical use cases of Bin Picking look like for your customers?

Describing typical use cases of Bin Picking, Marcel explains, "The 'typical' use case ranges from handling brake discs in a foundry to handling sausage slices in a cafeteria. However, the versatility of Bin Picking systems means there is no one-size-fits-all scenario. It is primarily used in tasks involving repetitive or physically demanding activities, providing relief for employees and offering a high return on investment due to process autonomy."

Considerations and Costs Associated with Bin Picking Implementation

When does it make sense to consider Bin Picking? What are the typical costs associated with it?

He elaborates on considerations and costs, noting, "The decision to implement a Bin Picking system depends largely on the system's utilization rate and cannot be answered definitively. Factors such as annual production volume and shift patterns play a significant role. As for costs, they vary depending on factors like the type of components to be handled, their storage method, and integration into the overall process."

Flexibility of Bin Picking Systems: Handling Various Components

How flexible are such systems? Can they handle any type of component?

Marcel discusses the flexibility of Bin Picking systems, stating, "Bin Picking systems are generally highly flexible. However, the choice of robot model and camera system may impose limitations on component dimensions and weight. Additionally, factors like highly reflective, wet, or dirty component surfaces may affect recognition accuracy. Overall, a wide range of components can be handled, often requiring minimal setup time, especially when using existing CAD data."

Potential Future Application Areas of Bin Picking

What potential application areas could emerge in the future?

Speculating on potential future application areas, Marcel suggests, "The possibilities for Bin Picking systems are virtually limitless, ranging from welding shops to commercial kitchens. Furthermore, depending on the number of components and cycle time, the existing technology can be utilized for additional process steps. For example, the robot can be integrated into a subsequent assembly application before feeding the component into the packaging process."

Role of Artificial Intelligence in Bin Picking

What role does AI play in relation to the topic of "Bin Picking"?

Regarding AI, Marcel mentions, "At present, AI plays a relatively minor role in Bin Picking applications. In most cases, bulk materials are provided in an unmixed manner, manually picked at predefined positions on the component, and positioned according to specifications. This keeps the computational workload minimal. However, there could be exceptions, such as in logistics centers processing cartons of various shapes and sizes, whereby different new grip positions could be determined and specified automatically by an AI."

Prerequisites for Manufacturing Companies Considering Bin Picking Implementation

What prerequisites should a manufacturing company have when considering the implementation of Bin Picking solutions?

In outlining prerequisites for manufacturing companies, Marcel emphasizes, "The software for operating and setting up our systems is very user-friendly, allowing users to independently learn how to add new components, adjust processes, etc., after a short training period. However, having some knowledge of robotics and camera technology, or at least a willingness to learn, can be helpful."

As we envision the future of manufacturing, the role of Bin Picking technology becomes increasingly crucial. With MPA Technology leading the charge in innovation and integration, we anticipate a landscape where automation not only streamlines operations but also fosters unparalleled efficiency and adaptability.

More About Marcel Burk

Head of Business Development at MPA Technology

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