APEX Automation and Robotics always aim to select the appropriate technologies for each application to provide its customers with automation solutions that give them a competitive edge.
In a recent project, it was required to measure the dimensions; position and orientation of a product on the move, and then send this information to a robot.
After investigating various options, APEX Automation and Robotics decided to use a laser scanning device that they interfaced with a PC to calculate the results.
Laser scanning devices are commercially available and they use the time of flight to calculate the distance to any point in their field of view with a scanning frequency of up to 500 Hz.
In other words they perform measurements at a rate of 500 times a second and this large amount of data makes it impossible to use them with a Programmable Logic Controller (PLC). As a result, practically laser scanners can only be interfaced with a computer using Ethernet TCP/IP.
Software engineers at APEX Automation and Robotics have developed the TCP/IP interface with the computer to acquire the large amount of data from the laser scanner, then used C++ programming language to analyse the data and calculate the relevant dimensions of the product.
Real dimensions in mm were then sent from the PC through the Ethernet network to the robot.
The integration of PCs in an Ethernet network to acquire real-time data and perform complex calculations, will give APEX Automation and Robotics new opportunities in applications where PLCs and robots have been limited.