Taking a firm grip

Bin Picking on the electromagnetic brake line

100 % precision for 100 % safety. Manufacturing electromagnetic brakes calls for the utmost care and attention. Brake specialists Intorq first deployed bin picking on their production line in November 2018. Since then CNC machining operations at the market-leading company have been faster and more efficient now that they have taken a › firm grip in the parts bin ‹.

"Brakes are safety-relevant components. Either they are perfect or they do not leave the factory", says Jürgen Kampmeier, production planner for resource management at Intorq.

The company produces brakes and clutches for electric drives that ensure safety and reliability in cranes, forklifts, elevators, wind turbines and many other applications all over the world. It was therefore hardly surprising that reliability was a crucial factor when procuring new production technology. The same criterion applied to the search for an automation solution for feeding parts to a CNC machining centre.

Automatic identification,
gripping and feeding

The remit was to develop an automatic system for supplying a CNC machine with rotors in six sizes plus sub-variants. The die cast parts had been placed in the supply bin in completely random poses. With the previous system the components would be pre-sorted by hand and repacked before the robot could feed them to the CNC turning machine. The identification, picking, feed and return of the raw parts was now to be undertaken using automated bin picking technology that would make the entire process both faster and more efficient.

A complete one-stop solution

"We chose Blumenbecker as a business partner because they could supply us with a complete solution as part of a one-stop package", explains Kampmeier, adding "the most important thing was that we did not want a prototype. Blumenbecker impressed us by having a tried and tested and fully developed process." The Prague-based automation specialists have invested more than ten years in developing their own technology. This has resulted in a vendor-neutral solution that is compatible with any type of robot and exploits the performance capabilities of the specifically designed sensor system to the full. The robot gripper system was also developed and manufactured by Blumenbecker in-house.

Video of the project

3-way robot gripper
eliminates empty runs

For Intorq, the production team designed a special 3-way gripper that can pick up three parts at once and thereby eliminate empty runs. The robot uses a 3D camera to locate the correct component in the bin. The part is then picked up and delivered to the CNC machine. Specifically, this means that the robot has to insert a fully geared rotor on to a full-mesh mandrel and in the same operation remove any ready-machines parts and transfer them safely back to the bench. "This is always done by the quickest, collision- free path", explains Marten Arnold, project manager at Blumenbecker. He goes on "Before the robot moves, we test all the collision risks in real time and calculate the best route that it can use to safely avoid the parts bin and other obstacles."

A bespoke solution ready
to run in just six weeks

The whole one-stop solution was up and running at Intorq after only six weeks. "This was possible because we really have some high-level technology expertise and work with offline programming. We first construct the robot as a 3D simulation and then program the handling instructions. Only when everything works as it should do we transfer the software over to the production line. This makes for a quick operation and enables us to respond effectively to the customer's wishes", explains Arnold. And this was borne out by Intorq: "Right from the start we had the feeling that Blumenbecker knew exactly what they were doing. They immediately understood our requirements and these were implemented very quickly", declares Kampmeier.


Lots of positive experience on both sides and this has further strengthened the business links between the two companies.
Indeed Intorq have already approached Blumenbecker for their next bin picking solution.

Our customer says:

»We got a comprehensive tailor-made solution. The whole project worked perfectly.«

Jürgen Kampmeier,
Production Planner for Resource Management , Intorq GmbH & Co. KG

Offline programming

With offline programming, the whole machine is first constructed as a 3D model. In this way the desired behaviour of the robot can be simulated and programmed offline. This means that any developing problems can be identified and resolved at an early stage.

Read more