Designed specifically to provide training, guidance and support for manual packing and assembly tasks, the novel ifm mate assistance system tracks the movement of a worker’s hands to ensure they have selected the right components in the correct sequence. Should they miss a component or deviate from the pre-programmed digital work instruction sequence, the system provides an alert so that the error can be corrected immediately.
Typical applications include packing, where items have to be picked from multiple containers and placed in a box in the correct order, and product assembly, where components are taken from containers in a pre-set sequence and mounted on the workpiece. The system can also be used as a training aid, guiding workers step-by-step through an unfamiliar process by way of a video sequence or image.
The ifm mate system has three essential elements: a computing unit, the ifm mate software, and a combined 2D/3D camera which tracks the workers hands at all times and captures both video and still images. Also available is a display screen that clearly shows the location of the next component or items to be selected and the locations from which components have already been taken. The camera is typically mounted above a table or bench where the assembly or packing takes place, while the screen is positioned in a location where it is easily visible to the worker.
Freely programmable, the ifm mate system can be quickly and easily adapted to suit a wide range of tasks and it is equally suitable for use with right and left-handed workers. In practice it helps to increase productivity and it virtually eliminates costly packing or assembly errors, thereby improving quality and minimising the risk of customer complaints.
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