‘Universal Robots’ has recently launched the world’s first autonomous bin picking kit for machine tending applications under the name “ActiNav” – this UR+ application kit is impeccable for companies of all sizes, as it abridges the integration of autonomous bin picking of parts and precise placement in machines using UR cobots.

ActiNav manages vision processing, motion planning, and autonomous real-time robot control synchronously and eradicates the intricacy and threat related to bin picking applications. The obstacle of automated bin picking is prominent throughout the industry, requiring immense efforts in terms of both integration and programming.

A Brief Look at ‘ActiNav

Nowadays, most bin picking products are only geared towards the visual aspect of bin picking as they usually require hundreds of lines of additional programming to reduce disparities from pick to place; particularly if the ‘place’ isn’t only falling into a box or tote – but precisely inserting the part into a fixture for the rest of the processing. Universal Robots insists that ActiNav autonomous bin picking can amend all of that, as it allows manufacturers with limited or no bin picking deployment expertise to rapidly attain the high machine uptime and accurate part placement with just a few operator interventions.

ActiNav amalgamates real-time autonomous motion control, collaborative robotics, vision, and sensor systems in a user-friendly, fast-deployed, and cost-effective kit. Although the system does not require any vision or robotic programming expertise, it’s based on a teach-by-demonstration principle using a six-step, wizard-guided setup process incorporated into the UR cobot teach pendant. ActiNav is easy to be deployed by manufacturers’ in-house automation teams or through support from a UR distributor or integrator to provide high productivity, quality, and effectiveness.

VP of product and applications management at Universal Robots, Jim Lawton says, machine tending has been always one of the prop applications for the collaborative robot arms. He said they’ve found a substantial market need for an elementary solution that allows UR cobots to autonomously find and pick parts out of deep bins, placing them accurately into a machine.

ActiNav is made available through UR’s distribution channel and via the latest UR+ Application Kits platform – an expansion of the cobot pioneer’s effective UR+ ecosystem of components skilled to work impeccably with UR cobots. Just like other UR+ application kits, ActiNav is built with an extensive application knowledge that eradicates the repetition of engineering efforts when deploying broadly used applications.

Machine Tending Stations

Since there are many ways to automate machine tending stations, most of them include the implementation of trays, bowl feeders or conveyors to get the parts to the machine. Lawton also shed a light on how ActiNav bypasses this step. He said parts are mostly already in bins, so the most scalable option is to deliver that bin of parts to the machine, then pick them straight from the bin and later placing them into the machine. This reduces floor space and reduces the need for part-specific tooling.

Moreover, ActiNav autonomously inserts parts into CNC or processing machines such as drilling, welding, or trimming. High-resolution 3D sensor with CAD matching allows highly-precise picks, supported by ActiNav’s Autonomous Motion Module (AMM) that regulates how to pick the part, then controls the robot to pick the part and place it in a fixture at every turn.

The autonomous motion control allows ActiNav to work within deep bins that carry more parts – something that impartial bin picking vision systems strive to achieve. IDC’s research director covering robotics, Remy Glaisner thoroughly follows the market for automated machine tending solutions. According to Glaisner, technology users now look to preserve the integrity and continuity of business operations.


Simplifying the integration of highly flexible robotic systems has become a critical competence for manufacturers and other industrial users. Therefore, ActiNav is going to be launched in the United States, Mexico, and Canada with worldwide availability, and it’s certainly evident that ActiNav will set a new dimension of operational prospects about the future of intelligent systems in many ways.