An industrial palletizing system for industrial robots

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


A study was conducted to set up an automated system for the use of industrial robots in frequently changing palletizing applications. The system consists of an industrial robot (IBM Manufacturing System 7545), an IBM PC, a gripper carousel storage system, a quick-change mechanism, and a robot gripper. The system is set up to enable a minimum of operator intervention. Hardware aspects (quick-change mechanism and gripper storage) as well as dynamic software generation for different palletizing applications were considered in the research project.

The research effort involved both software and hardware developments. A FORTRAN program was developed to generate pallet patterns based on dynamic input of package and platform parameters. The geometric pattern was then used to create an appropriate AML/E program to drive the robot through the desired motion sequence. This program was then compiled and downloaded to the robot. Hardware aspects of the research were focused on the development of a system to permit dynamic changing of end of arm tooling. This included the development of a quick-change mechanism and a gripper carousel storage system. The quick-change mechanism included interfaces for electronic signals, air, and vacuum lines. A vacuum gripper was also designed for package handling.