Bin-picking solution by ASS with Yaskawa Motoman MH5LF handling robot - Speed, flexibility and process reliability

23. February 2017

Robot-based bin-picking is one of the most sophisticated automation tasks of them all. That is even more so when the parts to be handled are only a few centimetres in size. ASS Maschinenbau GmbH now presents an efficient solution aimed especially at this range of applications in combination with a Yaskawa Motoman MH5LF handling robot.

Flexible and efficient bin-picking solution with MOTOMAN MH5LF / Flexible und leistungsfähige „Griff in die Kiste“-Lösung mit einem MOTOMAN MH5LF (Source/Quelle: ASS)

The manipulator is equipped with a gripper specifically developed by ASS / Der Manipulator ist mit einem von ASS anwendungsspezifisch entwickelten Greifer ausgestattet (Source/Quelle: ASS)

The camera system scans both workpieces in the bin and the robot gripper / Das Kamerasystem scannt sowohl die in dem Behälter befindlichen Werkstücke als auch den Roboter-Greifer (Source/Quelle: ASS)

For the past three decades ASS Maschinenbau GmbH in Overath, North Rhine-Westphalia, has been designing, developing and producing gripper parts, robot hands and automation systems that satisfy the most demanding quality and precision requirements. Although it has not been quite as long, for many years Yaskawa Motoman robots have been incorporated as a key component in many ASS systems.


Complex automation task

This was the case in an assignment from the automotive industry: more specifically, the task of removing a 15 centimetre long, haphazardly delivered aluminium pipe for motor cooling from a plastic box and depositing it in a predetermined position. On account of the strived for cycle times and required flexibility, neither mechanized separation by vibratory bowl or conveyor technology nor manual removal were feasible alternatives. Instead, this task called for a production-ready solution that promised speed, user friendliness and process reliability for handling comparatively small components.

It quickly became clear that the assignment could only be solved with a highly flexible robot. The choice fell on a Motoman MH5LF handling robot in combination with an optical 3D sensor system Shapescan 3D 400 from ISRA and a linear drive. In this bin-picking solution the manipulator is equipped with a gripper specifically developed for the purpose by ASS.

The camera system scans the workpieces in the bin as well as the robot gripper. Once the position and orientation of workpieces has been conveyed to the robot, the system simultaneously calibrates the gripper via an interface and specifies the movements. In the automation cycle the robot arm then moves to the predetermined position, takes hold of the workpiece and lays it down again in an orderly manner, for example in the feeding unit of a machine tool. The bins are constantly replaced by means of a linear drive.


Motoman MH5LF handling robot

The 6-axis high-speed robot Motoman MH5LF was specially designed for robot-based applications requiring a high degree of flexibility. It is equally suited to the complex task posed by ASS as it is to packaging, machine loading or dosing. The customer can choose between floor, wall or ceiling installation. In addition, this model can be operated with either the efficient DX200 control unit or the compact FS100 controller. Thilo Puchert, Head of Automation at ASS, explains the decision in favour of this robot type “The feasibility study finally convinced us that this was the right model for our purpose.”

And last but not least, the MH5LF distinguishes itself with a compact, consistently space-saving design. This enables the robot to deliver a high performance capacity on a small footprint. It can handle loads of up to 5 kg with a repeat accuracy of 0.03 mm and has a generous working range of up to 160 degrees in both directions. The space-saving concept of the MH5LF also features a media and air supply integrated into the robot arm. This reduces the sources of interference, system reliability is maximized and programming simplified.


Flexible adaptation

System integration is one of the core competencies of the ASS. For the bin picking process the company realized all stages of development from the feasibility analysis, design and project planning to integration into the customer’s production environment. In further production stages the automation system can for the main part be independently adapted by the customer. The intuitive user interface enables simple handling and individual adaptation without the need for special programming knowledge.



With an intelligent combination of a Motoman MH5LF handling robot with an ISRA camera system and a self-developed gripper, ASS has succeeded in realizing a flexible and efficient bin-picking solution especially for smaller workpieces. The system is already available on the market.







Thilo Puchert, Leader Automation

ASS Maschinenbau GmbH, 51491 Overath


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