Vision-Guided Robots Installed At Toyota's W.VA. Engine Plant

Toyota Motor Manufacturing installed six state-of-the-art visionguided ABB robotic systems in its West Virginia engine manufacturing plant to improve working conditions and employee utilization.

Each of the 6600 Series ABB robotic systems is equipped with a 3D camera to provide position data to control software provided by Braintech, Inc. Braintech's e-Vision Factory (eVF) software, an integral part of ABB's new TrueView product line, enables the robotic system to locate an engine or engine component accurately prior to picking it up. The software correctly positions the robot gripper to ensure a successful pick up, moves the engine or component precisely to the next location and places it exactly in the required position.

"The beauty of the ABB system is that it is 3D vision with one camera, so the complexity to the user is minimal. You you don't have a two-camera system that you're trying to keep calibrated," Bob Welch, Toyota's assistant manager of production engineering, said.

In addition to TrueView's low maintenance, automating this cell also addresses ergonomic and safety concerns-inherent in handling objects of significant weight and proportion."

The systems move components from receiving areas to machining and assembly lines and also move completely assembled engines to the final engine testing area. That work previously was done by hand using an assortment of hoists because the pallets and carriers used to hold the engines and components had more dimensional variation than traditionalrobotic systems could handle, and placement of the completed engines in the testing stations had to be extremely precise in order to make sure the test equipment could couple to the engine.

By using the new Vision Guided Robotics (VGR) systems, Toyota is able to free some of their employees from that tedious, monotonously repetitive work so that its team members can be used elsewhere, such as in finding ways to improve production processes.

Jerry Osborn, vice president and general manager of ABB's Robot Automation division, said, "Braintech'seVF software allows us to quickly build reliable, cost effective TrueView systems which meet our customers' expanding uses for VGR automation. We have recently announced our intention to make True View our global standard for VGR."

Braintech's eVF software is also being tested for use in non-automotive applications, but according to Braintech, working with ABB is their major focus at this time.

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