The Silicon Review
Robotics is one of the most exciting technological marvels that promise to define the future. As industries evolve and change, there is an ever-increasing demand for greater productivity and better optimization. Making smarter devices that can carry out designated tasks with little or no human intervention is the key to developing the next generation of robots. Bin-picking is one of the major issues that, if solved, would usher in a new era of robotics and subsequently, for the manufacturing industry as a whole. Scape Technologies is one of the world’s leading firms specializing in developing unique solutions for bin-picking for industrial and commercial applications.
Scape Technologies – known as the Bin-Picking Company - develops and sells highly flexible automated bin-picking systems. The company’s award-winning bin-picking system enables robotic arms to locate and pick individual parts from a randomly piled heap in a container such as a bin or a pallet.
The SCAPE Bin-Picker solutions increase the productivity of manufacturers and reduce manual repetitive work, which includes physically hard and monotone tasks, detrimental to the workers’ health.
In conversation with the CEO of Scape Technologies, Søren Bøving
Q. What was the first project that your company undertook?
Shortly after the company was established in 2004, a partnership between the leading pump manufacturer Grundfos A/S and Scape Technologies came about to develop and commercialize the SCAPE Bin-Picker.
In 2007, the first two Scape Bin-Picking solutions were implemented at the factory at the leading pump manufacturer Grundfos A/S. They were successful and worked wonderfully, so much so that the solutions are still active in the production environment.
Q. What are the factors that have helped you to shape your company’s offerings?
Over time the market for Bin-Picking in challenging production environments, like the Automotive Industry, have questioned the technology and the reliability in Bin-Picking solutions. The market for Bin-Picking was reluctant and less mature a few years back. Now industries face the lowest unemployment in nearly 50 years and the need for automated bin picking is urgent. In the US, where 38% of the manufacturing labor force moves parts between bins and manufacturing machines, 500,000 jobs remain unfilled. The automation industry is trying to meet that need and only a few have managed to solve the complex problem of Bin-Picking.
Scape Technology’s World-leading Bin-Picking solutions solve the puzzle of complex Bin-Picking. We have more than 15 years of experience and have integrated our solutions in car plants, factories, machines and human-robot collaboration areas where our customers have critical demands to the availability of our solution. This has required us to deliver complete systems that our customers can rely on and every single installation has given valuable knowledge that is implemented in the Scape Technologies standard solution.
Bin-Picking requires software expecting the unexpected. We have several backup procedures that allow the system to achieve picking parts. Even if the robot encounters a challenge in the bin, we use smart software to solve the problem and allow for continued stable picking with low cycle times.
Q. Do you have any products being readied for launch?
Scape Technologies presented a new SCAPE Stationary Scanner in April at the Hannover Messe 2019.
With the new SCAPE Stationary Scanner, we are proud to now have a complete portfolio of sensors: The robot-mounted SCAPE Grid Scanner, the SCAPE Sliding Scanner that can handle multiple bins and very large items and now the SCAPE Stationary Scanner, which opens up new market opportunities and brings benefits of automated bin-picking to new markets. We already have had inquiries for this scanner from many different angles, including not only SME’s but also bigger companies who may want to have fewer moving components in the bin-picking configuration.
The difference between the three solutions is mainly the position and the type of scanner. The newest addition to the product portfolio, the SCAPE Stationary Scanner, offers a fast scanning process and high detail scanning of small and larger parts, even with a shiny surface. The SCAPE Stationary Scanner can scan up to two bins, whereas the SCAPE Sliding Scanner copes with 6 bins. The third choice is the SCAPE Grid Scanner, which is easily installed and can scan from many angles because the scanner is mounted on the robot arm. This means that it can serve as many bins as the robot arm can reach. Compared to scanners mounted on the robot arms, the new SCAPE Stationary Scanner go one step further and keep a permanent overview of the objects in the bin. That makes processing time shorter for identifying, picking and placing.
In April we also introduced the new SCAPE Mini-Picker, a unique and cost-effective solution for a variety of bin-picking needs for smaller parts. The SCAPE Mini-Picker is intended for companies, technology centers, educational institutions and manufacturers that would like to quickly apply easy and reliable bin-picking.
Q. How does your company contribute to society at large?
Every day, production workers spend time on moving parts between bins and manufacturing machines. Automation of bin-picking can improve the working environment and eliminate unattractive and harmful tasks in the manufacturing industry. This is highly relevant now where society at large faces the lowest unemployment rate ever in the manufacturing industry and many jobs remain unfilled.
Q. How does your company maintain the loyalty of its customers?
Scape Technologies provide end customers with Advanced Operator Course and partners get access to a kit consisting of Part Studio Training, Scape Integrator training and Advanced Operator Course. Scape Technologies also provide first line support via phone and online access to integrated SCAPE Bin-Picking Solutions.
Meet the Driving Force behind the Continuing Success of Scape Technologies
Søren Bøving, CEO at Scape Technologies A/S, joined the company in 2010. He is experienced in sales management and general management cross countries and cross functions. He has a proven track record of managing and growing businesses in the IT and robotics industry in Scandinavia and Europe. Likewise, he is experienced board member/chairman. Specialties: General Management & Sales Management.