NOVI, MI-The International Conference for Vision Guided Robotics (ICVGR) aimed to help attendees apply these technologies and boost productivity, reduce costs and increase quality.

The Robotic Industries Association (RIA) and the Automated Imaging Association (AIA) jointly hosted the comprehensive three-day workshop in Novi, MI, September 30 to October 2, 2008, covering vision guided robotics topics for industries across the globe.

Bob Rochelle of Kawasaki Robotics USA Inc. opened the conference with a speech covering the basics on robotics, followed by David Dechow of Aptura Machine Vision Solutions, who presented sessions on the basics of machine vision and successfully integrating vision guided robotics.

Rochelle began by explaining that “robota” is a Czech word for “forced labor,” or “serf,” and then described basic robot technology and robot-based systems. He concluded with a list of common applications for robotic systems.

Dechow’s presentation provided a chance for attendees to actively participate in the session and ask questions relating to their specific applications. Dechow, a machine vision expert with 26 years of experience, began by providing an overview of machine vision integration and then offered details on lighting, optics and applications. His second seminar discussed how to integrate machine vision and robotics, which he said is “not a trivial task.” There was plenty to say on the topic, and attendees peppered him with questions about their experiences.

John Keating, principal product marketing manager at Cognex, listed the types of industries using vision guided robotics-automotive, aerospace, pharmaceutical, medical-and said applications could be found in almost any industry.

Mark Noschang, manager of applications engineering at Adept Technology Inc., said success depends on picking the correct robot for the job. He described the many types of robots available, including a beer-delivering robot that was featured on David Letterman.

About 70 people were on hand for the first day, followed by about 100 for the next two days. Tabletop exhibits allowed for networking during the extended lunch breaks on Wednesday and Thursday, along with a dinner and comedy event at The Second City on Wednesday evening.

The next AIA event will be the 17th Annual AIA Business Conference, February 4 to 6, 2009, in Coronado, CA.