Interest in bin picking has been existent for years. A feeding solution that is compact, quiet and flexible would benefit any forging plant. The primary reasons are maintenance and cost. Commonly used vibration feeders can be quite expensive and require intensive maintenance programs during their service life. In comparison, bin-picking robots with integrated-vision systems can do the same job at lower cost and with little maintenance. For example, the annual maintenance costs of mechanical feeders can be as large as the initial acquisition cost of a 3D-vision system.
Vibratory feeders are tried and true in the industry, however, and bin-picking robots have only recently begun to find application in forging plants. We have been helping forging plants automate bin picking since 2016 and have discovered the most common mistakes when automating billet feeding with 3D-vision-guided robots.