New PickMaster 2.20 puts customers in control

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Article publication date: 1 June 2004




(2004), "New PickMaster 2.20 puts customers in control", Industrial Robot, Vol. 31 No. 3.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

New PickMaster 2.20 puts customers in control

New PickMaster 2.20 puts customers in control

Keywords: Robots, ABB Packaging

ABB has launched PickMaster 2.20, an enhanced and fully compatible version of its highly successful PickMaster 2 software platform for automated packaging lines with multiple robot workstations. PickMaster 2.20 offers customers even further benefits in packaging efficiency and flexibility, plus significant savings in reduced equipment costs (Plate 2).

Plate 2 PickMaster 2.20

Among a comprehensive range of new features, PickMaster 2.20 incorporates adaptive task completion (ATC), a powerful process control function that allows information transfer between individual robots in multi-robot applications.

ATC significantly improves the method of progressively filling blister packs or cases, which need to be packed with multiple items as they pass a line of robots; and individual positions in a case no longer need to be assigned to specific robots. Once the filling pattern has been defined, ATC takes over to fill 2D and even 3D patterns in the correct order. It even has the capability to make sure that no case ever leaves the line incomplete.

The ATC function saves the customer considerable installation and set-up costs in a multi-robot line, and also reduces complexity, because the cases do not need to travel on separate in- and out-feeders for each robot station.

ATC is easily combined with the Load Balancing and Bypassing function, now standard with PickMaster, which distributes equal or biased production loads between the multiple robot work areas. When one robot is stopped or paused, for example, its share of items to be picked or placed can be automatically re-balanced among the remaining robots. Load balancing and bypassing can also prevent upstream robots consuming most of the products on the conveyors and leaving too few for the other robots.

A third key element in the PickMaster 2.20 revision is the Camera Distribution option, which enables several robot work areas to share information input from a single camera. This further boosts the efficiency and cost-benefits of the total packaging operation. To maximise quality, PickMaster 2.20 incorporates expanded functions for inspecting products or packaging results live online while the application is running, or remotely via e-mail. Size measurement and histogram inspection are two further new inspection functions available to the PickMaster customer who chooses the inspection server option.

In addition to the built-in vision technology, PickMaster can be enhanced by any type of image algorithms, integrated through an external Vision Model Interface, known as SDK. In addition, advanced new sorting functions allow items to be extracted or inserted by the robots in any 3D direction, irrespective of the clearance between items. This is achieved by automatically monitoring the available clearance in the defined direction at all times.

For more information, contact: David Marshall, ABB Automation Technologies, Auriga House, Precedent Drive, Rooksley, Milton Keynes MK13 8PQ. Tel: +44 (0) 1908 350300; Fax: +44 (0) 1908 350301; E-mail:; Web site:

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