Easy implementation with the help of UR Academy and the UR simulator
The DCL Logistics automation team was pleasantly surprised by how easy the UR interface and software were to use, how flexible the cobot system was to implement, and how helpful the support from UR was.
Walter Perchinumio, senior software engineer at DCL Logistics, says, “As soon as someone came out with the idea to use a robot for fulfilling orders, I was really excited. We went to the Universal Robots Academy website and tried to learn what this six-axis robot is capable of. It was like love at first sight because I like the descriptive programming, the capability.”
Perchinumio was also excited to find the free application simulator on the UR website, which provided full confidence in the team’s ability to program the system successfully. “When I saw that, it was, ‘Oh wow—Bingo! we can test everything.’ In the simulator, we saw the actual interface, so basically the first month that we worked with the robot was exclusively with the simulation, and that ended up being the deciding factor for me.”
UR+ platform provided certified peripherals
The automation team at DCL Logistics used the UR+ online platform along with the simulator to research and choose the right peripherals for the application. Tested and proven certification for every UR+ product along with the UR CAPS software make the process a plug-and-play scenario instead of having to learn the commands of the robot. DCL chose a Piab piCOBOT gripper and a DataLogic camera that can scan multiple barcodes at the same time, or scan a part number and a serial number.
Another advantage of the UR cobot is the ability to use the robot as a controller and eliminate the need for a PLC. The UR cobot comes with enough I/O ports that a separate PLC wasn’t necessary. Perchinumio was able to develop scripting code that relies on the robot to control all the conveyor movements. With the UR cobot, “It was actually an easy task,” he says.
Toscano adds, “Right now all our mechanicals—which is the scanners, the sensors, the solenoids, our security lights—they all connect to the I/O boards on the robot. The teach pendant is very friendly-user, and so is the I/O controller.”
Future plans: 10 to 20 UR cobots in conveyed system
While e-commerce is currently only about 15 percent of the retail market, it continues to grow and DCL Logistics customers want a fulfillment partner that is scalable and accurate. Dave Tu says, “We imagine over the next five to ten years that robotics as part of the DCL operation is going to be even more important. As we integrate more systems, we’re going to go from one robot system to multiple robot systems, and the vision right now is to have as many as 10 to 20 robots.”