SICK’s vision system and Yaskawa’s robots come together for more efficient robotics

How do you unlock the full potential of robotics? And do so without adding complications for the end user? Pair Yaskawa robots with SICK’s vision technology for a unique robot guidance application that works for them!

SICK’s vision system, PLOC2D, is enabling 2D robot guidance on Yaskawa’s robots that is not only low cost, but incredibly easy to use. From palletizing and belt picking to machine tending, SICK and Yaskawa technologies continue to complement each other, providing powerfully accurate solutions to the industrial automation industry.

A working relationship

The PLOC2D vision system is a standalone sensor system, meaning it doesn’t require an external PC. Its easy-to-operate design is fitted with a high-quality image processing hardware that’s used in combination with a powerful localization algorithm, so it can localize parts quickly and reliably. Most importantly, the human machine interface makes setup, use, and maintenance very easy, which is similar to Yaskawa’s Smart Pendant product: 3D visual guidance and helper tools that empower users to initiate complex robot commands without needing to learn the language.

One of Yaskawa’s main tenets is their commitment to the future of the robotics industry and the focus on new technology. In this case, they had their eyes set on a state-of-the-art vision system for their robot arms that could be used in conjunction with their Smart Pendant product. And SICK knew they could fill the gaps in Yaskawa’s portfolio in two ways. The first being that SICK robot guidance allows more flexibility when it comes to the distributors Yaskawa can work with, and the second being the usability of SICK’s software.

Superior software

SICK software offers a competitive advantage with its simplicity and user friendliness.

Rick Layman, Application Engineer from SICK distributor Neff Power, said he’d never seen a camera come with a ready-made teach pendant program before.

“It will save people a lot of time, especially if they don’t have programming knowledge. I made a three-minute video of myself loading the .IFF file from start to finish. It’s extremely fast.”

There’s no need to bring in a vision professional, a huge reason Yaskawa was drawn to the PLOC2D. Its ease of use equally pairs with the Smart Pendant product, which Yaskawa describes as an intuitive and powerful pendant interface that requires minimal upfront robotics training.

“My brother, who’s never touched a robot in his life, could get it to work,” said Nick Longworth, Senior Systems Application Engineer at SICK, about the PLOC2D.

Robots aren’t the only beneficiaries here, either. SICK’s vision system brings visibility to the end user as well.

“I really like how you can pull up the web browser and see right into the SICK camera. You can also customize your application from there,” said Rob Peggs, Robotics Specialist from Neff Power.

Applications for Industrial Automation


PLOC2D is scalable; the 654 variant can achieve a 2×2-meter field of view with 0.5mm localization precision to support auto-racking applications.

Small part picking

The PLOC2D can also locate multiple simultaneous parts in an image. Combined with its easy-to-use interface, it’s easy to integrate in small part handling applications, like AnyFeeders.


With support for conveyor tracking and the capacity to locate more than 120 parts per minute, the PLOC2D is the perfect guidance solution for palletizing applications.

Machine tending

The PLOC2D is equipped with an easy-to-use interface and a gripper clearance tool that allows the device to determine if a located part can be picked successfully without collision. This is a great vision solution alternative for the machine tool industry, where part feeding often requires high cost fixturing.

Kitting operations

The PLOC2D not only provides the position and orientation of work pieces, but it can also identify if a located part is of the correct type. This makes it the perfect vision solution for sorting and kitting applications.

The road ahead

While PLOC2D is the focus right now, this is only the beginning. Implementing PLB, PLR, and 3D belt pick are on deck, applications that SICK customers are keen on.

“3D bin picking is a really hot topic and our customers really want to implement it,” Peggs said about the future of this solution. “We can support the product and support it well. We can implement it on an existing or new robotic cell.”

And with robot installations expected to grow at a significant compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in the U.S., the possibilities for robot guidance will continue to grow with it. Whether it be electronics, automotive, or even case packing for the food and beverage industry, the opportunities for SICK and Yaskawa Motoman working together are abundant.

“You’ve got a robot and a vision camera. There’s not a lot you can’t do,” Longworth said.

Want more information about these types of solutions? Contact a SICK representative today!