Vention and SICK Partner to Bring Smarter Robot Guidance to the Factory Floor

July 29, 2021 by Stephanie Leonida

The two companies will combine their expertise to speed up designing and deploying custom-built vision solutions for robot guidance systems that operate in industrial facilities.

It's becoming more common to see companies in the industrial space join forces to progress robotic innovations in manufacturing facilities. Recently, Comau and Tecnomatic partnered to work on electrical motor and transmission assembly solutions. 

Another recent headline included Google Cloud and Ericsson, who combined their 5G and edge cloud solutions to deploy them in industrial facilities. The latest news comes from SICK and Vention, two companies that are key players in this space. 


Vention's Mobile Heavy-Duty Robot Stand. Image used courtesy of Vention 


SICK AG is a provider of sensors and sensor solutions for industrial automation applications. The company recently announced a partnership with Vention to create a digital manufacturing platform for the design and commission of automated industrial equipment.

Robotic and machine vision can be a critical asset in automated facilities. Machines aided by vision systems can improve the precision and accuracy of smart automated processes. 


Designing Custom Built Robot Cells

SICK intends to bring its vision system technology to the table. The company's range of 2D and 3D vision systems have been designed to aid in positioning, measurement, inspection, and robot guidance. 


SICK's PLOC2D robotic inspection systems. Image used courtesy of SICK


SICK's PLB and PLOC2D systems come with functions that allow for flexible robot integration to be used with any robot brand. 

Vention's cloud-based platform is expected to enhance SICK's product offerings because it provides customers with the ability to customize vision-based robot guidance systems for automated bin picking applications.

The Chief Business Development Officer at Vention, Patrick Halde, commented, "This partnership will enable customers to design, automate, and deploy custom-built robot cells with increased speed and simplicity. SICK and Vention's combined expertise, coupled with a shared dedication to customer service creates a compelling offering for a variety of customer needs, from novice to automation experts."


SICK's Vision Solutions

The 3D PLB bin picking and PLOC2D vision solutions from SICK come with collision avoidance, overlap detection, and can accommodate a short robot picking cycle time. The range of localization functions helps provide reliable part picking for parts of different shapes or those in a particular placement.

On their website, SICK adds that both the PLB and PLO come with multiple localization algorithms to help engineers create reliable operations in a large range of applications. These applications range from small-part handling and depalletizing, to handling of large foundry parts. 


A video from SICK showing how these robots move around in an automotive manufacturing facility. Video used courtesy of SICK


These robot guidance systems from SICK can be used for various applications, including cobot palletizers, robot cell integration, pedestal and work stations, and conveyors. The PLB and PLOC2D vision solutions are available for machine design on the Vention platform. 


Enhancing Vision from the Factory Floor

The localization algorithms are based on CAD and geometric part features. Pre-calibrated 3D cameras help to enhance image quality for small or large parts. Robots being used for bin-picking applications can benefit from an enhanced field of vision, which can enhance process efficiency. 


SICK's PLB robot guidance systems provide 3D vision for enhanced part localization. Image used courtesy of SICK 


The Head of Market Product Management – Systems at SICK USA, Kam Yuen, also commented by saying, "Our partnership with Vention provides distinct advantages to our customers looking for modular robotic solutions." Yuen added: "With Vention's AI-enabled and cloud-based platform, our customers will be able to design, order, and assemble custom equipment to improve manufacturing processes." 

SICK and Vention stated that they will continue adding product offerings to Vention's robotic platform to provide customers these unique modular solutions tailored to their specific application needs.