(19)
(11)EP 2 998 077 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
10.03.2021 Bulletin 2021/10

(21)Application number: 15183826.5

(22)Date of filing:  04.09.2015
(51)Int. Cl.: 
B25J 9/16  (2006.01)
G05B 19/418  (2006.01)

(54)

ROBOT SYSTEM, ROBOT APPARATUS, AND METHOD FOR PICKING WORKPIECE

ROBOTERSYSTEM, ROBOTERVORRICHTUNG UND VERFAHREN ZUM AUFNEHMEN EINES WERKSTÜCKS

SYSTÈME DE ROBOT, ROBOT ET PROCÉDÉ DE PRÉLÈVEMENT DE PIÈCE À USINER


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 18.09.2014 JP 2014190444

(43)Date of publication of application:
23.03.2016 Bulletin 2016/12

(73)Proprietor: Kabushiki Kaisha Yaskawa Denki
Kitakyushu-shi, Fukuoka 806-0004 (JP)

(72)Inventors:
  • NISHIZAKA, Yoshitaka
    Kitakyushu-shi, Fukuoka 806-0004 (JP)
  • NAKAMURA, Ken
    Kitakyushu-shi, Fukuoka 806-0004 (JP)
  • KAWANO, Tomoki
    Kitakyushu-shi, Fukuoka 806-0004 (JP)
  • UCHIDA, Yutaro
    Kitakyushu-shi, Fukuoka 806-0004 (JP)

(74)Representative: Viering, Jentschura & Partner mbB Patent- und Rechtsanwälte 
Am Brauhaus 8
01099 Dresden
01099 Dresden (DE)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 1 306 306
FR-A1- 2 754 239
US-A- 6 122 895
WO-A1-2013/105900
JP-A- 2012 184 102
US-A1- 2011 170 998
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    BACKGROUND


    FIELD OF THE INVENTION



    [0001] The present invention relates to a robot system and a method for picking a workpiece.

    DISCUSSION OF THE BACKGROUND



    [0002] Japanese Unexamined Patent Application Publication No. 2002-316716 discloses an object processor for use in a robot system in which conveyors or similar devices convey workpieces and robots hold the workpieces to transfer the workpieces to another place.

    [0003] The object processor includes first and second conveyors and first and second robots. The first and second conveyors convey objects in the same direction. The two robots transfer the objects from the first conveyor to the second conveyor.

    [0004] Specifically, the first conveyor first conveys a random mixture of different kinds of workpieces. From among the different kinds of workpieces, the first robot holds a first kind of workpieces, one at a time in the order that the first kind of workpieces are conveyed; picks the first kind of workpieces from the first conveyor; and transfers the first kind of workpieces to the second conveyor.

    [0005] At the downstream area of the first robot, the second robot holds a second kind of workpieces, from among the different kinds of workpieces, that are intended to be combined with the first kind of workpieces in the order that the second kind of workpieces are conveyed; picks the second kind of workpieces from the first conveyor; transfers the second kind of workpieces to the second conveyor; and combines the second kind of workpieces with the first kind of workpieces.

    [0006] Japanese Unexamined Patent Application Publication No. 2002-316716 leaves room for improvement in effective transfer of the workpieces.

    [0007] For example, the workpieces to be transferred are picked from the first conveyor in the order that the workpieces are conveyed. With this configuration, if the first kind of workpieces continues on the first conveyor and there is no second kind of workpieces for the second robot to transfer to the second conveyor, there is a possibility of a flow of only the first kind of workpieces on the second conveyor. That is, there is a possibility of the first kind of workpieces lacking in combination with the second kind of workpieces.

    [0008] Japanese Unexamined Patent Application Publication No. 2002-316716 attends to this lack of combination by decelerating or stopping the second conveyor to wait for a combination to occur. The wait, however, adds time to the already time-consuming transfer of the workpieces using the plurality of robots, to the detriment of efficiency.

    [0009] The present disclosure has been made in view of the above-described circumstances. It is an object of the present disclosure to provide a robot system, a robot apparatus, and a method for picking a workpiece that ensure more efficient transfer of workpieces.

    SUMMARY



    [0010] According to one aspect of the present disclosure, a robot system includes a first conveyor, a second conveyor, a robot, and a controller. The first conveyor is configured to convey a plurality of kinds of workpieces. The second conveyor is configured to convey workpiece groups each including a combination of the plurality of kinds of workpieces. The controller is configured to control the robot, and includes a situation acquirer, a determiner, and an instructor. The situation acquirer is configured to acquire a situation in a predetermined monitor area on the first conveyor and the second conveyor. The predetermined monitor area is set based on a movable range of the robot. Based on the situation acquired by the situation acquirer, the determiner is configured to determine whether at least one workpiece among the plurality of kinds of workpieces on the first conveyor in the predetermined monitor area is a missing workpiece of at least one workpiece group among the workpiece groups in the predetermined monitor area. The instructor is configured to instruct the robot to hold the at least one workpiece determined as the missing workpiece by the determiner and to transfer the at least one workpiece from the first conveyor to the second conveyor.

    [0011] The one example ensures more efficient transfer of workpiece The invention is set out in the appended set of claims.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0012] A more complete appreciation of the present disclosure and many of the attendant advantages thereof will be readily obtained as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

    FIG. 1A is a schematic plan view of a robot system according to a first example, illustrating an arrangement configuration of the robot system;

    FIG. 1B is a schematic side view of a robot, illustrating a transfer movement of the robot;

    FIG. 1C is a schematic plan view of exemplary workpieces and an exemplary workpiece group;

    FIG. 2 is a diagram illustrating a method according to a comparative example for picking a workpiece;

    FIG. 3A is a first diagram illustrating a method according to the first example for picking a workpiece;

    FIG. 3B is a second diagram illustrating the method according to the first example for picking a workpiece;

    FIG. 3C is a third diagram illustrating the method according to the first example for picking a workpiece;

    FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating the robot system according to the first example;

    FIG. 5 is a flowchart of a procedure for processing performed by the robot system according to the first example;

    FIG. 6A is a first diagram illustrating a method according to a second example for picking a workpiece;

    FIG. 6B is a second diagram illustrating the method according to the second example for picking a workpiece;

    FIG. 6C is a third diagram illustrating the method according to the second example for picking a workpiece; and

    FIG. 6D is a fourth diagram illustrating the method according to the second example for picking a workpiece.


    DESCRIPTION OF THE EXAMPLES



    [0013] A robot system, a robot apparatus, and a method for picking a workpiece according to examples of the present disclosure will be described in detail below with reference to the accompanying drawings. The following examples are provided for exemplary purposes only and are not intended to limit the present disclosure.

    [0014] In the following description, the action of holding a workpiece conveyed on a conveyor and taking the workpiece from the conveyor will be referred to as "picking". First Example

    [0015] An outline of a robot system 1 according to a first example will be first described with reference to FIG. 1A to FIG. 1C. FIG. 1A is a schematic plan view of a robot system 1 according to the first example, illustrating an arrangement configuration of the robot system 1. FIG. 1B is a schematic side view of a robot 30, illustrating a transfer movement of the robot 30. FIG. 1C is a schematic plan view of exemplary workpieces W and an exemplary workpiece group WG.

    [0016] For the ease of description, FIG. 1A illustrates a three-dimensional orthogonal coordinate system including a Z axis with its vertically upward direction being assumed the positive direction. This orthogonal coordinate system may also be illustrated in some other drawings referred to in the following description.

    [0017] As illustrated in FIG. 1A, the robot system 1 according to the first example includes a first conveyor 10 (corresponding to the first conveyor), a second conveyor 20 (corresponding to the second conveyor), the robot 30, a detector 40, and a controller 50.

    [0018] The first conveyor 10 is a conveyance device that conveys, from the upstream side toward the downstream side, a plurality of kinds of workpieces W mixed together at random. The second conveyor 20 is a conveyance device that conveys workpiece groups WG from the upstream side toward the downstream side. Each of the workpiece groups WG is a combination of the plurality of kinds of workpieces W.

    [0019] In the first example, the first conveyor 10 and the second conveyor 20 are belt conveyors. This configuration, however, should not be construed in a limiting sense. The first conveyor 10 and the second conveyor 20 may be any other conveyance devices insofar as the conveyance devices are capable of conveying the workpieces W and the workpiece groups WG in a predetermined conveyance direction. In the first example, the conveyance direction is the negative direction of the X axis.

    [0020] The first conveyor 10 and the second conveyor 20 are arranged to pass through the movable range of the robot 30. A monitor area GR is set based on the movable range of the robot 30 on the conveyance paths of the first conveyor 10 and the second conveyor 20.

    [0021] The robot 30 is an articulated robot secured on an installation object such as a ceiling, a wall, and a floor. In the first example, the robot 30 is a parallel link robot with its base secured on a ceiling.

    [0022] As illustrated in FIG. 1B, the robot 30 picks a plurality of kinds of workpieces W, one at a time, conveyed on the first conveyor 10 (see the arrow 101 in FIG. 1B), and transfers the workpieces W to the second conveyor 20 successively (see the arrow 102 in FIG. 1B). Then, the robot 30 successively places the workpieces W on, for example, pallets P conveyed on the second conveyor 20 (see the arrow 103 in FIG. 1B). Thus, the robot 30 combines the plurality of kinds of workpieces W and generates workpiece groups WG.

    [0023] The robot 30 includes an arm 31. At the distal end of the arm 31, a holder 32 is attached so as to hold a workpiece W. The holder 32 holds the workpiece W by sucking the workpiece W using a suction device such as a vacuum pump. The holder 32 moves the workpiece W to above the pallet P, and releases the suction force of the suction device. Thus, the robot 30 transfers the workpiece W from the first conveyor 10 to the second conveyor 20. The robot 30 is allowed to transfer the workpieces W in the monitor area GR.

    [0024] In the first example, the robot 30 includes the single holder 32. This configuration, however, should not be construed in a limiting sense. The robot 30 may include two or more holders 32.

    [0025] The holder 32 may hold the workpiece W by other than suction. For example, the holder 32 may clamp an end portion of the workpiece W.

    [0026] In the first example, the robot 30 is a parallel link robot. This configuration, however, should not be construed in a limiting sense. Insofar as the robot 30 is capable of holding and transferring the workpiece W, the robot 30 may be a vertical articulated robot, a horizontal articulated robot, an orthogonal robot, or any other robot.

    [0027] The detector 40 is disposed at a further upstream position than the robot 30, and detects situations that the first conveyor 10 and the second conveyor 20 are in. As illustrated in FIG. 1A, the detector 40 includes, for example, a camera 41, photoelectric sensors 42, and encoders 43 (each corresponding to the measurer).

    [0028] The camera 41 picks up an image of predetermined imaging areas on the conveyance paths of the first conveyor 10 and the second conveyor 20 so as to detect conveyance situations of the workpieces W and the workpiece groups WG. Two photoelectric sensors 42 are dedicated to each of the first conveyor 10 and the second conveyor 20. The photoelectric sensors 42 emit and receive light to sense changes in the amount of received light, so as to detect conveyance situations of the workpieces W and the workpiece groups WG.

    [0029] One encoder 43 is dedicated to each of the first conveyor 10 and the second conveyor 20, and detects rotation situations of the first conveyor 10 and the second conveyor 20. Results of the detections performed by the camera 41, the photoelectric sensors 42, and the encoders 43 are output to the controller 50 through a communication network (not illustrated) such as Local Area Network (LAN).

    [0030] The controller 50 is coupled in a communicable manner to various elements such as the first conveyor 10, the second conveyor 20, the robot 30, and the detector 40. It is noted that any form of connection, wired or wireless, may be employed. The controller 50 includes various control units, processors, and storages so as to control operations of the various elements coupled to the controller 50.

    [0031] For example, based on a job program acquired through an input device (such as a programming pendant), not illustrated, or through a higher device, the controller 50 generates a movement signal to cause the robot 30 to operate. Then, the controller 50 outputs the movement signal to the robot 30 to control the movement of the robot 30.

    [0032] The movement signal is generated in the form of, for example, a pulse signal to each servomotor in each joint of the robot 30. A specific configuration of the controller 50 will be described later with reference to FIG. 4.

    [0033] With the above-described configuration of the robot system 1 according to the first example, the detector 40 detects situations that the first conveyor 10 and the second conveyor 20. Based on the situations detected by the detector 40, the controller 50 acquires a situation in the monitor area GR.

    [0034] Based on the situation in the monitor area GR, the controller 50 instructs the robot 30 to pick a workpiece W using the holder 32 and transfer the workpiece W from the first conveyor 10 to the second conveyor 20. In response to the instruction from the controller 50, the robot 30 performs the transfer movement.

    [0035] In the transfer movement of the workpiece W, the robot system 1 according to the first example selects a manner of picking that the robot system 1 determines as effective considering the situation in the monitor area GR, so as to eliminate or minimize a missed transfer to the second conveyor 20. Thus, the robot system 1 performs a more highly efficient transfer movement. This configuration will be described in more detail below with reference to FIG. 2 and later drawings.

    [0036] Prior to the description with reference to FIG. 2 and later drawings, exemplary workpieces W and exemplary workpiece groups WG will be described. In the following description, as illustrated in FIG. 1C, a workpiece group WG is generated by combining four kinds of workpieces Wa, Wb, Wc, and Wd on a pallet P.

    [0037] In the drawings referred to in the following description, as represented by FIG. 1C, the workpieces Wa, Wb, Wc, and Wd are occasionally denoted with reference numerals. The reference numerals indicate the "transfer order". Also, in a context in which the kinds of the workpieces are irrelevant, the workpieces Wa, Wb, Wc, and Wd will be collectively referred to as "workpieces W".

    [0038] Reference numeral "100" in FIG. 1A will be described later in the description of other examples.

    [0039] Next, by referring to FIG. 2 to FIG. 3C, a method according to the first example for picking a workpiece will be described in comparison with a comparative method for picking a workpiece. FIG. 2 is a diagram illustrating the comparative method for picking a workpiece.

    [0040] FIGs. 3A to 3C are first to third diagrams illustrating the method according to the first example for picking a workpiece. In the comparative method illustrated in FIG. 2, the elements used are identical to the elements used in the method according to the first example, and like reference numerals designate corresponding or identical elements throughout FIGs. 2 to 3C for convenience of description.

    [0041] In FIGs. 2 to 3C, the workpieces W indicated by phantom lines are imaginary workpieces W, and the workpieces W indicated by solid lines are real workpieces W. That is, the workpieces W indicated by phantom lines on the first conveyor 10 are workpieces W that have already been transferred to the second conveyor 20, while the workpieces W indicated by solid lines on the first conveyor 10 are workpieces W yet to be transferred to the second conveyor 20.

    [0042] As illustrated in FIG. 2, in the comparative method for picking a workpiece, workpieces W are picked in the order that the workpieces are conveyed on the first conveyor 10 and successively transferred to the second conveyor 20. In the situation illustrated in FIG. 2, the workpieces W numbered "1" to "4" in the transfer order are successively transferred to pallets PI to P3 on the second conveyor 20. The workpiece W numbered "5" in the transfer order, however, has nowhere to be transferred on the second conveyor 20 until a pallet P4 enters a movable range WR of the robot 30. This configuration causes the robot 30 to wait (step S'1) for the pallet P4 to enter the movable range WR.

    [0043] While the robot 30 is waiting, the workpieces W numbered "6" and "7" in the transfer order are unable to be transferred, even though the "6" and "7" workpieces W are within the movable range WR (step S'2). Thus, there is a possibility of the pallet PI lacking in combination with the "6" and "7" workpieces W (step S'3).

    [0044] In view of the possible lack of combination, the method according to the first example for picking a workpiece includes acquiring a situation in the monitor area GR; and based on the acquired situation, making a determination as to whether any of the workpieces W on the first conveyor 10 in the monitor area GR are missing workpieces of any of the workpiece groups WG in the monitor area GR. In other words, the first example takes into consideration situations in which the workpiece groups WG are generated on the second conveyor 20, which are not taken into consideration in the comparative method.

    [0045] In the method according to the first example for picking a workpiece, when there are missing workpieces W on the first conveyor 10, at least one of the missing workpieces W is picked and transferred from the first conveyor 10 to the second conveyor 20. That is, in the method according to the first example for picking a workpiece, there are exceptions to the usual order of conveyance that the workpieces W are transferred in order that the workpieces W are conveyed on the first conveyor 10.

    [0046] Specifically, as illustrated in FIG. 3A, an exemplary step of the method according to the first example for picking a workpiece is to, prior to every one of the workpieces W is picked, acquire a situation in the monitor area GR based on the results of the detections performed by the detector 40 (step S1).

    [0047] Then, based on the acquired situation in the monitor area GR, a determination is made as to whether any of the workpieces W on the first conveyor 10 in the monitor area GR are a missing workpiece of any of the workpiece groups WG in the monitor area GR (step S2).

    [0048] In the situation in the monitor area GR illustrated in FIG. 3A, the method according to the first example for picking a workpiece determines that a workpiece Wc, which is numbered "6" in the transfer order, and a workpiece Wd, which is numbered "7" in the transfer order, on the first conveyor 10 are missing workpieces in a pallet PI and a pallet P2 on the second conveyor 20. In FIGs. 3A to 3C, the missing workpieces W on the first conveyor 10 and the second conveyor 20 are shaded by slanting lines.

    [0049] As illustrated in FIG. 3B, the "6" workpiece Wc and the "7" workpiece Wc in the transfer order on the first conveyor 10, which have been determined as missing workpieces W, are respectively advanced to "4" and "5" in the transfer order. It is noted that since the workpiece Wc is at a further downstream position than the workpiece Wd on the first conveyor 10, the workpiece Wc is prioritized over the workpiece Wd.

    [0050] As illustrated in FIG. 3C, according to the changed transfer order, the workpieces Wc and Wd, which have been determined as missing workpieces W, are prioritized in the transfer to the second conveyor 20 (step S3).

    [0051] It is noted that the workpieces Wc and Wd are missing workpieces W both in the pallet PI and the pallet P2, and that in the first example, priority is given to the pallet P1, which is at a further downstream position than the pallet P2, to accept the workpieces Wc and Wd. In another example where the conveyance situations of the first conveyor 10 and the second conveyor 20 lead to a determination that no lack of combination is expected to occur in the pallet PI nor the pallet P2, the workpieces Wc and Wd may be transferred to the pallet P2.

    [0052] Thus, in comparison with the comparative method, the method according to the first example for picking a workpiece eliminates or minimizes lack of combination of the workpieces W, that is, ensures reliable transfer of the workpieces W. The method according to the first example also eliminates the need for decelerating or stopping the first conveyor 10 and the second conveyor 20, and thus improves conveyance efficiency. That is, the workpieces W are transferred more efficiently by the method according to the first example.

    [0053] Next, by referring to FIG. 4, a block configuration of the robot system 1 according to the first example will be described. FIG. 4 is a block diagram illustrating the robot system 1 according to the first It is noted that FIG. 4 only illustrates those components necessary for description of the robot system 1, omitting those components of general nature.

    [0054] The following description by referring to FIG. 4 will mainly focus on the internal configuration of the controller 50, and may occasionally simplify or omit the components that have been already described by referring to the drawings such as FIG. 1A.

    [0055] As illustrated in FIG. 4, the controller 50 includes a control unit 51 and a storage 52. The control unit 51 further includes a conveyor controller 51a, a situation acquirer 51b, a missing workpiece determiner 51c (corresponding to the determiner), and an instructor 51d.

    [0056] The storage 52 is a storage device such as a hard disk drive and a non-volatile memory, and stores monitor area setting information 52a and combination information 52b.

    [0057] It is noted that not all the elements of the controller 50 illustrated in FIG. 4 need to be arranged within the single controller 50. Another possible example is that at least one of the monitor area setting information 52a and the combination information 52b stored in the storage 52 is stored in an inner memory of the robot 30. Still another possible example is that at least one of the monitor area setting information 52a and the combination information 52b is stored in an upper-level device upper than the controller 50 and acquired as necessary from the upper-level device by the controller 50.

    [0058] A non-limiting example of the control unit 51 is a Central Processing Unit (CPU) that is in charge of overall control of the controller 50. The conveyor controller 51a controls the first conveyor 10 and the second conveyor 20 to convey workpieces W and workpiece groups WG (occasionally, pallets P without workpieces W in the pallets P) to the monitor area GR of the robot 30. The first conveyor 10 and the second conveyor 20 will be collectively referred to as conveyors 10 and 20 in FIG. 4.

    [0059] Based on the monitor area setting information 52a, the situation acquirer 51b sets an imaginary monitor area GR on the first conveyor 10 and the second conveyor 20. The situation acquirer 51b acquires a situation in the monitor area GR as the situation acquirer 51b finds it necessary considering the results of the detections performed by the detector 40.

    [0060] The monitor area setting information 52a is information required for setting the monitor area GR, and includes information such as the positions and dimensions of the movable range WR of the robot 30, the widths of the first conveyor 10 and the second conveyor 20, and the distance of the camera 41 from an imaging area.

    [0061] Specifically, the situation acquirer 51b acquires situations of the workpieces W and the workpiece groups WG in the monitor area GR based on an image received from the camera 41, based on sensing data received from the photoelectric sensors 42, and based on rotation situations of the conveyors 10 and 20 received from the encoders 43. The situation acquirer 51b notifies the missing workpiece determiner 51c of the acquired situations.

    [0062] Based on the acquired situations notified from the situation acquirer 51b, the missing workpiece determiner 51c determines whether any of the workpieces W on the first conveyor 10 in the monitor area GR are missing workpieces of any of the workpiece groups WG in the monitor area GR.

    [0063] In this determination, the missing workpiece determiner 51c also refers to the combination information 52b. The combination information 52b includes combinations of a plurality of kinds of workpieces W that constitute the workpiece groups WG. The missing workpiece determiner 51c notifies the instructor 51d of the determination.

    [0064] Based on the determination notified from the missing workpiece determiner 51c, the instructor 51d instructs the robot 30 to pick at least one of the workpieces W determined as missing workpieces, and to transfer the one workpiece W from the first conveyor 10 to the second conveyor 20.

    [0065] Specifically, when there is a workpiece W determined as a missing workpiece W by the missing workpiece determiner 51c, the instructor 51d instructs the robot 30 to hold and transfer the workpiece W by the method according to the first example for picking a workpiece (see FIGs. 3B and 3C).

    [0066] Next, by referring to FIG. 5, a procedure for processing performed by the robot system 1 according to the first example will be described. FIG. 5 is a flowchart of the procedure for the processing performed by the robot system 1 according to the first example.

    [0067] As illustrated in FIG. 5, the situation acquirer 51b acquires a situation in a predetermined monitor area GR on the first conveyor 10 and the second conveyor 20 (step S101). For example, the situation acquirer 51b acquires a situation in the monitor area GR prior to every operation of picking each workpiece W from the first conveyor 10.

    [0068] Next, based on the situation notified from the situation acquirer 51b, the missing workpiece determiner 51c determines whether any of the workpieces W in the monitor area GR on the first conveyor 10 are missing workpieces of any of the workpiece groups WG in the monitor area GR (step S102).

    [0069] When the determination indicates that there are missing workpieces W ("Yes" at step S103), the instructor 51d instructs the robot 30 to transfer at least one of the missing workpieces W from the first conveyor 10 to the second conveyor 20 (step S104).

    [0070] When the determination indicates that there are no missing workpieces W ("No" at step S103), the instructor 51d instructs the robot 30 to transfer the workpieces W on the first conveyor 10 in the order that the workpieces W are conveyed on the first conveyor 10 (step S105).

    [0071] Then, a determination is made as to whether the work is complete (step S106). When the work is complete ("Yes" at step S106), the processing ends. When the work is not complete ("No" at step S106), the controller 50 repeats the processing that starts from step S101.

    [0072] As has been described hereinbefore, the robot system according to the first example includes the first conveyor (corresponding to the first conveyor), the second conveyor (corresponding to the second conveyor), the robot, and the controller. The first conveyor conveys a plurality of kinds of workpieces. The second conveyor conveys workpiece groups each including a combination of the plurality of kinds of workpieces. The robot makes a predetermined movement. The controller controls the movement of the robot.

    [0073] The controller includes the situation acquirer, the missing workpiece determiner (corresponding to the determiner), and the instructor. The situation acquirer acquires a situation in the predetermined monitor area on the first conveyor and the second conveyor. The predetermined monitor area is set based on the movable range of the robot. Based on the situation acquired by the situation acquirer, the missing workpiece determiner determines whether any of the workpieces on the first conveyor in the monitor area are missing workpieces of any of the workpiece groups in the monitor area.

    [0074] The instructor instructs the robot to hold at least one of the workpieces determined as missing workpieces W by the determiner and to transfer the one workpiece from the first conveyor to the second conveyor.

    [0075] With this configuration, the robot system according to the first example ensures more efficient transfer of the workpieces.

    [0076] In the first example, when any of the workpieces on the first conveyor in the monitor area are missing workpieces of at least one of the workpiece groups on the second conveyor, any of the missing workpieces are picked and transferred to the second conveyor. This configuration, however, should not be construed in a limiting sense.

    [0077] Another possible example is to prioritize a missing workpiece of a workpiece group in a most downstream area of the second conveyor. This configuration will be described below with reference to a second example illustrated in FIGs. 6A to 6D. Second Example

    [0078] FIGs. 6A to 6D are respectively first to fourth diagrams illustrating a method according to the second example for picking a workpiece. For convenience of description, like reference numerals designate corresponding or identical elements throughout the first and second examples. Also for convenience of description, the robot system according to the second example is denoted with reference numeral "1'", not illustrated.

    [0079] The following description will be provided under the assumption that the situation illustrated in FIG. 6A is the situation in the monitor area GR acquired after a workpiece Wa numbered "1" in the transfer order has been transferred from the first conveyor 10 to a pallet PI on the second conveyor 20.

    [0080] The method according to the second example for picking a workpiece is different from the first example in that a missing workpiece W of a workpiece group WG in a most downstream area of the second conveyor 20 is prioritized.

    [0081] Specifically, as illustrated in FIG. 6B, the method according to the second example for picking a workpiece gives higher priority to workpieces W in a downstream area of the monitor area GR, and gives lower priority to workpieces W in an upstream area of the monitor area GR. In the most downstream area of the second conveyor 20 in the monitor area GR, a monitor area GR1 is set. The monitor area GR1 is given highest priority.

    [0082] Next, similarly to the first example, a determination is made as to whether any of the workpieces W on the first conveyor 10 in the monitor area GR are missing workpieces of any of the workpiece groups WG in the monitor area GR. In the method for picking a workpiece according to the second example, the determination is made separately for the monitor area GR1 and for the rest of the monitor area GR .

    [0083] Assume that the determination is made in the situation illustrated in FIG. 6A. Under this assumption, as illustrated in FIG. 6B, the determination made for the monitor area GR1 is that a workpiece Wb, which is numbered "3" in the transfer order, a workpiece Wc, which is numbered "6" in the transfer order, and a workpiece Wd, which is numbered "7" in the transfer order, are missing workpieces in a pallet PI in the monitor area GR1. In FIG. 6B to FIG. 6D, the missing workpieces W are shaded by fine dots.

    [0084] The determination made for the rest of the monitor area GR is that workpieces Wa, which are "2", "4", and "5" in the transfer order, are missing workpieces in a pallet P2. In FIG. 6B to FIG. 6D, the missing workpieces W are shaded by slanting lines.

    [0085] As illustrated in FIG. 6C, the workpiece Wb, the workpiece Wc, and the workpiece Wd, which are respectively numbered "3", "6", and "7" in the transfer order and which have been prioritized as missing workpieces W in the monitor area GR1, are respectively advanced to "2", "3", and "4" in the transfer order.

    [0086] The workpieces Wa, which are numbered "2", "4", and "5" in the transfer order and which have been determined as missing workpieces W in the rest of the monitor area GR, are respectively increased to "5", "6", and "7" in the transfer order. The workpiece Wa circled by a dashed line in FIG. 6C has originally been transferrable with highest priority and is now lowered in priority. This configuration may not necessarily be applicable when the conveyance situation of the first conveyor 10 leads to such a determination that there is a possibility of the workpiece Wa lacking in combination on the second conveyer 20.

    [0087] As illustrated in FIG. 6D, the prioritized missing workpieces W are transferred to the second conveyor 20 in the transfer order thus changed (step S11).

    [0088] Thus, the method according to the second example for picking a workpiece eliminates or minimizes lack of combination of the workpieces W, that is, ensures reliable transfer of the workpieces W. That is, the workpieces W are transferred more efficiently by the method according to the second example.

    [0089] As has been described hereinbefore, the method according to the second example for picking a workpiece prioritizes a missing workpiece W of a workpiece group WG in the most downstream area of the second conveyor 20.

    [0090] That is, in the robot system 1' according to the second example, the instructor 51d instructs the robot 30 to prioritize one workpiece W that is among the workpieces W determined as missing workpieces W by the missing workpiece determiner 51c and that is in the most downstream area of the second conveyor 20 in the monitor area GR. The robot 30 holds and transfers the prioritized one workpiece W. This configuration ensures more efficient transfer of the workpieces W. Other Examples

    [0091] The first and second examples are implemented using the following robot apparatus.

    [0092] A robot apparatus 100 (see FIGs. 1A and 4) includes the robot 30 and the controller 50. The controller 50 controls the movement of the robot 30, and includes the situation acquirer 51b, the missing workpiece determiner 51c, and the instructor 51d. The situation acquirer 51b acquires a situation in a predetermined monitor area GR on the first and second conveyers 10 and 20. The predetermined monitor area GR is set based on the movable range of the robot 30. Based on the situation acquired by the situation acquirer 51b, the missing workpiece determiner 51c determines whether any of the workpieces W on the first conveyor 10 in the monitor area GR are missing workpieces of any of the workpiece groups WG in the monitor area GR. The instructor 51d instructs the robot 30 to hold at least one of the workpieces W determined as the missing workpieces W by the missing workpiece determiner 51c, and to transfer the at least one workpiece W from the first conveyor 10 to the second conveyor 20.

    [0093] In the above-described examples, the transfer order in which the robot picks the workpieces is changed to eliminate or minimize lack of combination of the workpieces, in an attempt to transfer the workpieces more efficiently. This configuration, however, should not be construed in a limiting sense. Another possible example is to add control to change the conveyance speeds of the conveyors.

    [0094] Specifically, in accordance with the detector 40's detection of the rotation situation of the conveyors 10 and 20 and the conveyance situation of the workpieces W, the instructor 51d calculates appropriate control values for the conveyors 10 and 20 to eliminate or minimize lack of combination and missed picking, and instructs the conveyor controller 51a with the control values (see FIG. 4). It will be readily appreciated that the above-described examples are implementable without the control to change the conveyance speeds of the conveyors.

    [0095] Obviously, numerous modifications and variations of the present disclosure are possible in light of the above teachings. It is therefore to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims, the present disclosure may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described herein.

    [0096] 
    1, 1'
    Robot system
    10
    First conveyor
    20
    Second conveyor
    30
    Robot
    31
    Arm
    32
    Holder
    40
    Detector
    41
    Camera
    42
    Photoelectric sensor
    43
    Encoder
    50
    Controller
    51
    Control unit
    51a
    Conveyor controller
    51b
    Situation acquirer
    51c
    Missing workpiece determiner
    51d
    Instructor
    52
    Storage
    52a
    Monitor area setting information
    52b
    Combination information
    100
    Robot apparatus
    GR
    Monitor area
    P, PI to P4
    Pallet
    W, Wa, Wb, Wc, Wd
    Workpiece
    WG
    Workpiece group
    WR
    Movable range



    Claims

    1. A robot system (1), characterized by:

    a first conveyor (10) configured to convey a plurality of kinds of workpieces;

    a second conveyor (20) configured to convey workpiece groups each comprising a combination of the plurality of kinds of workpieces;

    a robot (30); and

    a controller (50) configured to control the robot (30), the controller (50) comprising:

    a situation acquirer (51b) configured to acquire a situation in a predetermined monitor area on the first conveyor (10) and the second conveyor (10), the predetermined monitor area being set based on a movable range of the robot (30);

    a determiner (51c) configured to, based on the situation acquired by the situation acquirer (51b), determine whether at least one workpiece among the plurality of kinds of workpieces on the first conveyor (10) in the predetermined monitor area is a missing workpiece of at least one workpiece group among the workpiece groups in the predetermined monitor area; and

    an instructor (51d) configured to instruct the robot (30) to hold the at least one workpiece determined as the missing workpiece by the determiner (51c) and to transfer the at least one workpiece from the first conveyor (10) to the second conveyor (20).

    characterized in that the at least one workpiece determined as the missing workpiece by the determiner (51c) comprises a plurality of missing workpieces,

    wherein the at least one workpiece group among the workpiece groups in the predetermined monitor area is positioned in a most downstream area of the second conveyor (20) in the predetermined monitor area, and

    wherein the instructor (51d) is configured to instruct the robot (30) to prioritize one missing workpiece, among the plurality of missing workpieces, that is the missing workpiece of the at least one workpiece group so as to hold the one missing workpiece and transfer the one missing workpiece from the first conveyor (10) to the second conveyor (20).


     
    2. The robot system (1) according to claim 1,
    wherein the at least one workpiece determined as the missing workpiece by the determiner (51c) comprises a plurality of missing workpieces, and
    wherein the instructor (51d) is configured to instruct the robot (30) to hold one missing workpiece, among the plurality of missing workpieces, that is positioned in a downstream area of the first conveyor (10) in the predetermined monitor area, and to transfer the one missing workpiece from the first conveyor (10) to the second conveyor (20).
     
    3. The robot system (1) according to any one of claims 1 to 2, further comprising a detector (40) configured to detect a conveyance situation of the first conveyor (10) and the second conveyor (10),
    wherein the situation acquirer (51b) is configured to acquire the situation in the predetermined monitor area based on the conveyance situation detected by the detector (40).
     
    4. The robot system (1) according to claim 3, wherein the detector (40) comprises a photoelectric sensor (42).
     
    5. The robot system (1) according to claim 3 or 4, wherein the detector (40) comprises a camera (41) configured to pick up an image of the first conveyor (10) and the second conveyor (10).
     
    6. The robot system (1) according to any one of claims 3 to 5, wherein the detector (40) comprises
    a first measurer (43) configured to measure rotation of the first conveyor (10), and
    a second measurer (43) configured to measure rotation of the second conveyor (10).
     
    7. The robot system (1) according to any one of claims 1 to 6, wherein the robot (30) comprises a parallel link robot.
     
    8. A method for picking a workpiece in a robot system (1), the robot system (1) comprising:

    a first conveyor (10) configured to convey a plurality of kinds of workpieces mixed together at random,

    a second conveyor (20) configured to convey workpiece groups each comprising a predetermined combination pattern of the plurality of kinds of workpieces; and

    a robot (30),

    the method characterized by controlling the robot (30), the controlling step comprising:

    acquiring a situation in a predetermined monitor area on the first conveyor (10) and the second conveyor (10), the predetermined monitor area being set based on a movable range of the robot (30);

    based on the situation acquired by the situation acquirer (51b), determining whether at least one workpiece among the plurality of kinds of workpieces on the first conveyor (10) in the predetermined monitor area is a missing workpiece of at least one workpiece group among the workpiece groups in the predetermined monitor area; and

    holding, using the robot (30), the at least one workpiece determined as the missing workpiece by the determiner (51c) and transferring, using the robot (30), the at least one workpiece from the first conveyor (10) to the second conveyor (20),

    characterized in that the at least one workpiece determined as the missing workpiece by the determiner (51c) comprises a plurality of missing workpieces,

    wherein the at least one workpiece group among the workpiece groups in the predetermined monitor area is positioned in a most downstream area of the second conveyor (20) in the predetermined monitor area, and

    wherein the robot (30) is instructable to prioritize one missing workpiece, among the plurality of missing workpieces, that is the missing workpiece of the at least one workpiece group so as to hold the one missing workpiece and transfer the one missing workpiece from the first conveyor (10) to the second conveyor (20).


     


    Ansprüche

    1. Robotersystem (1), gekennzeichnet durch:

    eine erste Fördervorrichtung (10), welche konfiguriert ist, um eine Vielzahl von Werkstückarten zu befördern,

    eine zweite Fördervorrichtung (20), welche konfiguriert ist, um Werkstückgruppen zu befördern, wobei jede eine Kombination aus der Vielzahl von Werkstückarten aufweist,

    einen Roboter (30), und

    eine Steuervorrichtung (50), welche konfiguriert ist, um den Roboter (30) zu steuern, wobei die Steuervorrichtung (50) aufweist:

    eine Situation-Erfass-Vorrichtung (51b), welche konfiguriert ist, um eine Situation in einem vorbestimmten Überwachungsbereich an der ersten Fördervorrichtung (10) und der zweiten Fördervorrichtung (10) zu erfassen, wobei der vorbestimmte Überwachungsbereich basierend auf einem Bewegungsbereich des Roboters (30) festgelegt ist,

    eine Ermittel-Vorrichtung (51c), welche konfiguriert ist, um basierend auf der Situation, welche mittels der Situation-Erfass-Vorrichtung (51b) erfasst ist, zu ermitteln, ob mindestens ein Werkstück von der Vielzahl von Werkstückarten an der ersten Fördervorrichtung (10) in dem vorbestimmten Überwachungsbereich ein fehlendes Werkstück ist von mindestens einer Werkstückgruppe von den Werkstückgruppen in dem vorbestimmten Überwachungsbereich, und

    eine Befehl-Vorrichtung (51d), welche konfiguriert ist, um den Roboter (30) anzuweisen, das mindestens eine Werkstück, welches mittels der Ermittel-Vorrichtung (51c) als das fehlende Werkstück ermittelt ist, zu halten und das mindestens eine Werkstück von der ersten Fördervorrichtung (10) zu der zweiten Fördervorrichtung (20) zu transferieren,

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    das mindestens eine Werkstück, welches mittels der Ermittel-Vorrichtung (51c) als das fehlende Werkstück ermittelt ist, eine Vielzahl von fehlenden Werkstücken aufweist, wobei die mindestens eine Werkstückgruppe von den Werkstückgruppen in dem vorbestimmten Überwachungsbereich in einem am weitesten stromabwärts gelegenen Bereich der zweiten Fördervorrichtung (20) in dem vorbestimmten Überwachungsbereich positioniert ist, und

    wobei die Befehl-Vorrichtung (51d) konfiguriert ist, um den Roboter (30) anzuweisen, ein fehlendes Werkstück, von der Vielzahl von fehlenden Werkstücken, zu priorisieren, welches das fehlende Werkstück der mindestens einen Werkstückgruppe ist, um das eine fehlende Werkstück zu halten und das eine fehlende Werkstück von der ersten Fördervorrichtung (10) zu der zweiten Fördervorrichtung (20) zu transferieren.


     
    2. Robotersystem (1) gemäß Anspruch 1, wobei das mindestens eine Werkstück, welches mittels der Ermittel-Vorrichtung (51c) als das fehlende Werkstück ermittelt ist, eine Vielzahl von fehlenden Werkstücken aufweist, und
    wobei die Befehl-Vorrichtung (51d) konfiguriert ist, um den Roboter (30) anzuweisen, das eine fehlende Werkstück von der Vielzahl von fehlenden Werkstücken zu halten, welches in einem stromabwärts gelegenen Bereich der ersten Fördervorrichtung (10) in dem vorbestimmten Überwachungsbereich positioniert ist, und das eine fehlende Werkstück von der ersten Fördervorrichtung (10) zu der zweiten Fördervorrichtung (20) zu transferieren.
     
    3. Robotersystem (1) gemäß einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 2 ferner aufweisend:

    eine Detektion-Vorrichtung (40), welche konfiguriert ist, um eine Fördersituation der ersten Fördervorrichtung (10) und der zweiten Fördervorrichtung (10) zu detektieren,

    wobei die Situation-Erfass-Vorrichtung (51b) konfiguriert ist, um die Situation in dem vorbestimmten Überwachungsbereich zu erfassen basierend auf der Fördersituation, welche mittels der Detektion-Vorrichtung (40) detektiert ist.


     
    4. Robotersystem (1) gemäß Anspruch 3, wobei die Detektion-Vorrichtung (40) einen foto-elektrischen Sensor (42) aufweist.
     
    5. Robotersystem (1) gemäß Anspruch 3 oder 4, wobei die Detektion-Vorrichtung (40) eine Kamera (41) aufweist, welche konfiguriert ist, um ein Bild von der ersten Fördervorrichtung (10) und der zweiten Fördervorrichtung (10) aufzunehmen.
     
    6. Robotersystem (1) gemäß einem der Ansprüche 3 bis 5, wobei der Detektor (40) aufweist:

    einen ersten Messwertgeber (43), welcher konfiguriert ist, um die Drehung der ersten Fördervorrichtung (10) zu messen, und

    einen zweiten Messwertgeber (43), welcher konfiguriert ist, um die Drehung der zweiten Fördervorrichtung (10) zu messen.


     
    7. Robotersystem (1) gemäß einem der Ansprüche 1 bis 6, wobei der Roboter (30) einen Parallelroboter aufweist.
     
    8. Verfahren zum Greifen eines Werkstücks in einem Robotersystem (1), wobei das Robotersystem (1) aufweist:

    eine erste Fördervorrichtung (10), welche konfiguriert ist, um eine Vielzahl von Werkstückarten zu befördern, welche willkürlich miteinander gemischt sind,

    eine zweite Fördervorrichtung (20), welche konfiguriert ist, um Werkstückgruppen zu befördern, wobei jede ein vorbestimmtes Kombinationsmuster aus der Vielzahl von Werkstückarten aufweist, und

    einen Roboter (30),

    wobei das Verfahren durch das Steuern des Roboters (30) gekennzeichnet ist, wobei der Steuerschritt aufweist:

    Erfassen einer Situation in einem vorbestimmten Überwachungsbereich an der ersten Fördervorrichtung (10) und der zweiten Fördervorrichtung (10), wobei der vorbestimmte Überwachungsbereich festgelegt ist basierend auf einem Bewegungsbereich des Roboters (30),

    basierend auf der Situation, welche mittels der Situation-Erfass-Vorrichtung (51b) erfasst wird, Ermitteln, ob mindestens ein Werkstück von der Vielzahl von Werkstückarten an der ersten Fördervorrichtung (10) in dem vorbestimmten Überwachungsbereich ein fehlendes Werkstück ist von mindestens einer Werkstückgruppe von den Werkstückgruppen in dem vorbestimmten Überwachungsbereich, und

    Halten, unter Verwendung des Roboters (30), des mindestens einen Werkstücks, welches mittles der Ermittel-Vorrichtung (51c) als das fehlende Werkstück ermittelt ist, und Transferieren, unter Verwendung des Roboters (30), des mindestens einen Werkstücks von der ersten Fördervorrichtung (10) zu der zweiten Fördervorrichtung (20),

    dadurch gekennzeichnet, dass

    das mindestens eine Werkstück, welches mittels der Ermittel-Vorrichtung (51c) als das fehlende Werkstück ermittelt ist, eine Vielzahl von fehlenden Werkstücken aufweist,

    wobei die mindestens eine Werkstückgruppe von den Werkstückgruppen in dem vorbestimmten Überwachungsbereich in einem am weitesten stromabwärts gelegenen Bereich der zweiten Fördervorrichtung (20) in dem vorbestimmten Überwachungsbereich positioniert ist, und

    wobei der Roboter (30) anweisbar ist, ein fehlendes Werkstück von der Vielzahl von fehlenden Werkstücken zu priorisieren, welches das fehlende Werkstück der mindestens einen Werkstückgruppe ist, um das eine fehlende Werkstück zu halten und das eine fehlende Werkstück von der ersten Fördervorrichtung (10) zu der zweiten Fördervorrichtung (20) zu transferieren.


     


    Revendications

    1. Système de robot (1), caractérisé par :

    un premier convoyeur (10) configuré pour transporter une pluralité de types de pièces à usiner ;

    un deuxième convoyeur (20) configuré pour transporter des groupes de pièces à usiner comprenant chacun une combinaison de la pluralité de types de pièces à usiner ;

    un robot (30) ; et

    un contrôleur (50) configuré pour commander le robot (30), le contrôleur (50) comprenant :

    un acquéreur de situation (51b) configuré pour acquérir une situation dans une zone de surveillance prédéterminée sur le premier convoyeur (10) et le deuxième convoyeur (10), la zone de surveillance prédéterminée étant définie sur la base d'une plage de déplacement du robot (30) ;

    un dispositif de détermination (51c) configuré pour, sur la base de la situation acquise par l'acquéreur de situation (51b), déterminer si au moins une pièce à usiner parmi la pluralité de types de pièces à usiner sur le premier convoyeur (10) dans la zone de surveillance prédéterminée est une pièce à usiner manquante d'au moins un groupe de pièces à usiner parmi les groupes de pièces à usiner dans la zone de surveillance prédéterminée ; et

    un instructeur (51d) configuré pour ordonner au robot (30) de tenir ladite au moins une pièce à usiner déterminée comme étant la pièce à usiner manquante par le dispositif de détermination (51c) et de transférer ladite au moins une pièce à usiner du premier convoyeur (10) au deuxième convoyeur (20),

    caractérisé en ce que

    ladite au moins une pièce à usiner déterminée comme étant la pièce à usiner manquante par le dispositif de détermination (51c) comprend une pluralité de pièces à usiner manquantes,

    dans lequel ledit au moins un groupe de pièces à usiner parmi les groupes de pièces à usiner dans la zone de surveillance prédéterminée est positionné dans une zone la plus en aval du deuxième convoyeur (20) dans la zone de surveillance prédéterminée, et

    dans lequel l'instructeur (51d) est configuré pour ordonner au robot (30) de donner la priorité à une pièce à usiner manquante, parmi la pluralité de pièces à usiner manquantes, c'est-à-dire la pièce à usiner manquante dudit au moins un groupe de pièces à usiner de manière à tenir ladite une pièce à usiner manquante et à transférer ladite une pièce à usiner manquante du premier convoyeur (10) au deuxième convoyeur (20).


     
    2. Système de robot (1) selon la revendication 1,

    dans lequel ladite une pièce à usiner déterminée comme étant la pièce à usiner manquante par le dispositif de détermination (51c) comprend une pluralité de pièces à usiner manquantes, et

    dans lequel l'instructeur (51d) est configuré pour ordonner au robot (30) de tenir une pièce à usiner manquante, parmi la pluralité de pièces à usiner manquantes, qui est positionnée dans une zone en aval du premier convoyeur (10) dans la zone de surveillance prédéterminée, et de transférer ladite une pièce à usiner manquante du premier convoyeur (10) au deuxième convoyeur (20).


     
    3. Système de robot (1) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 2, comprenant en outre un détecteur (40) configuré pour détecter une situation de transport du premier convoyeur (10) et du deuxième convoyeur (10),
    dans lequel l'acquéreur de situation (51b) est configuré pour acquérir la situation dans la zone de surveillance prédéterminée en fonction de la situation de transport détectée par le détecteur (40).
     
    4. Système de robot (1) selon la revendication 3, dans lequel le détecteur (40) comprend un capteur photoélectrique (42) .
     
    5. Système de robot (1) selon la revendication 3 ou 4, dans lequel le détecteur (40) comprend une caméra (41) configurée pour prendre une image du premier convoyeur (10) et du deuxième convoyeur (10).
     
    6. Système de robot (1) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 3 à 5, dans lequel le détecteur (40) comprend

    un premier mesureur (43) configuré pour mesurer la rotation du premier convoyeur (10), et

    un deuxième mesureur (43) configuré pour mesurer la rotation du deuxième convoyeur (10).


     
    7. Système de robot (1) selon l'une quelconque des revendications 1 à 6, dans lequel le robot (30) comprend un robot à liaisons parallèles.
     
    8. Procédé de prélèvement d'une pièce à usiner dans un système de robot (1), le système de robot (1) comprenant :

    un premier convoyeur (10) configuré pour transporter une pluralité de types de pièces à usiner mélangées au hasard,

    un deuxième convoyeur (20) configuré pour transporter des groupes de pièces à usiner comprenant chacun un modèle de combinaison prédéterminé de la pluralité de types de pièces à usiner, et

    un robot (30),

    le procédé étant caractérisé par la commande du robot (30), l'étape de commande comprenant :

    acquérir une situation dans une zone de surveillance prédéterminée sur le premier convoyeur (10) et le deuxième convoyeur (10), la zone de surveillance prédéterminée étant réglée sur la base d'une plage de déplacement du robot (30) ;

    sur la base de la situation acquise par l'acquéreur de situation (51b), déterminer si au moins une pièce à usiner parmi la pluralité de types de pièces à usiner sur le premier convoyeur (10) dans la zone de surveillance prédéterminée est une pièce à usiner manquante d'au moins un groupe de pièces à usiner parmi les groupes de pièces à usiner dans la zone de surveillance prédéterminée ; et

    tenir, moyennant le robot (30), ladite au moins une pièce à usiner déterminée comme étant la pièce à usiner manquante par le dispositif de détermination (51c) et transférer, moyennant le robot (30), ladite au moins une pièce à usiner du premier convoyeur (10) au deuxième convoyeur (20),

    caractérisé en ce que

    ladite au moins une pièce á usiner déterminée comme étant la pièce à usiner manquante par le dispositif de détermination (51c) comprend une pluralité de pièces à usiner manquantes,

    dans lequel ledit au moins un groupe de pièces à usiner parmi les groupes de pièces à usiner dans la zone de surveillance prédéterminée est positionné dans une zone la plus en aval du deuxième convoyeur (20) dans la zone de surveillance prédéterminée, et

    dans lequel le robot (30) peut être instruit pour donner la priorité à une pièce à usiner manquante, parmi la pluralité de pièces à usiner manquantes, c'est-à-dire la pièce à usiner manquante dudit au moins un groupe de pièces à usiner de manière à tenir ladite une pièce à usiner manquante et à transférer ladite une pièce à usiner manquante du premier convoyeur (10) au deuxième convoyeur (20).


     




    Drawing






























    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description