Advanced Vision & Adhesive Dispense Integration | ATX West 2024

Advanced Vision & Adhesive Dispense Integration  ATX West 2024

Achieving High Precision in Automated Processes

Our recent presentation at ATX West 2024 delivered a deep dive into precision engineering, offering a glimpse into the future of product development and automation. Senior application engineers Jerry Entrikin and Ryan Harris, with their extensive backgrounds in custom automation design and machine vision, provided an in-depth exploration of advanced adhesive dispensing and vision integration technologies.

Micro-Dispensing: Precision in Picoliters

Dispensing the right amount of adhesive, lubricant, or gasketing material hinges on the ability to control microliter and even picoliter volumes with high precision. Andrews Cooper leverages piezo-driven jetting dispensers and rotary positive displacement pumps, employing the endless piston principle to achieve this meticulous control. The technologies from ViscoTec and Nordson stand out, allowing for the precise delivery of materials across a spectrum of viscosities.

A deep dive into non-contact micro dispensing reveals the benefits of piezo jetting, which enables dispensing above the substrate, mitigating the effects of surface imperfections on the dispensing accuracy. The ViscoTec rotary displacement pump delivers consistent bullets of material, each of an equal volume, crucial for maintaining control at the point of dispensing. This technology has proven indispensable for handling both solid-based and shear-sensitive media.

Vision Technologies: The Eye for Precision

When precision dispensing meets the critical gaze of machine vision, the potential for innovation expands. Entrikin emphasized the rapid evolution of machine vision, propelled by AI and machine learning. The application of conventional vision algorithms has given way to systems that can now distinguish between good and bad parts using a library of images. This evolution is exemplified in bin picking, where recent advancements have enabled robots to sort through jumbled parts with unprecedented reliability.

HMI on an Automated Adhesive Dispensing Manufacturing Cell

3D Vision: Bringing Depth to Detection

The journey to 3D vision involves building upon basic light intensity measurements to create a profile of the target surface. Techniques like line scan cameras, structured light, and direct ranging systems, including Time of Flight (ToF) measurements, have become instrumental in creating three-dimensional images of components. These techniques facilitate the precise placement of adhesives and enable the thorough inspection of the dispensed material.

Integrating Vision with Dispensing: A Symphony of Precision

Integrating machine vision with dispensing technology, Andrews Cooper has tackled the complexities of motion control in dispensing applications. Whether through simple pneumatic actuators, stacked linear actuators, or hexapod robots, the appropriate technology is selected to meet the precision requirements of each unique application. A noteworthy example is using hexapod robots for high-accuracy tasks, allowing for six degrees of freedom and ensuring the dispenser tip remains orthogonal to the target surface.

Patterning and Printing: Micro Arrays on Substrates

The application of arrays of piezo dispensers in patterning involves dispensing biologicals, reagents, and conductive materials onto substrates. This process requires the precise alignment of substrates, where fiducials come into play, enabling high-accuracy positioning. The maintenance of these arrays is crucial, and machine vision plays a pivotal role in ensuring each droplet is dispensed correctly.

Custom Software: The Glue That Binds

Successfully integrating these technologies into a cohesive system relies heavily on custom software development. This software aligns the precision of dispensing systems with the sharp analysis of vision systems, ensuring that each component is placed and verified with exactitude.

Automating the Impossible: A Multidisciplinary Approach

To close, Entrikin and Harris shared a compelling narrative of how Andrews Cooper approaches complex engineering challenges. They stressed the importance of a multidisciplinary approach, combining robust product development expertise with cutting-edge automation and testing methodologies. With the end in mind, this approach enables AC to deliver comprehensive solutions from R&D to full-scale commercialization.

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