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Techno - Mosaic4u - Final-2

Techno - Mosaic4u - Final-2

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Published by stephen_glad6189
This article describes how Mosaic4u uses a robot with Blueline motion components from Techno-Isel to assemble its mosaics.
This article describes how Mosaic4u uses a robot with Blueline motion components from Techno-Isel to assemble its mosaics.

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Published by: stephen_glad6189 on Oct 27, 2011
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Techno-Isel Robots Automate Creation of Mosaics at Substantial Reduction in Cost
Mosaic4u of Herzelia, Israel, produces mosaic murals from tens of thousands of little tiles glued face on to 300 by 300 mm (12 by 12 inches)transparent film sheets as a ready-to- install kit. Mosaic4u’s proprietarytechnology consists of a mosaic editor and an automated manufacturing process. The company originally assembled its mosaics using an off-the-shelf robot but discovered that it was much too slow. So Mosaic4u createdits own robot using Blueline motion components from Techno-Isel that fitsits needs perfectly.The custom robot operates at a speed of 2.4 meters per second yet costsabout $9,200. The new robot places 9000 3/8 tiles, enough to make a onesquare meter mosaic, in about 9 hours. Two Mosaic4u technicians got theBlueline robot working in this application in only one day. “Using a robot toassemble mosaics from the same glass tiles makes it possible for Mosaic4uto provide mosaics of equal quality as hand-made mosaics at a significantlylower price,” said Boaz Glass, Chief Executive Officer of Mosaic4u.
Designing the mosaic
The process of creating a mosaic begins when the customer sends a photograph or painting to Mosaic4u. Glass says that for best results thatoriginal image should be at least 1.5 square meters (16 square feet). Whenthe company receives the image from the customer, it uses special softwareto make several mosaic alternatives for the customer to choose from basedon the same original image. The mosaic is not intended to be identical to theoriginal image, but rather be inspired by it. Mosaic murals are an ancient artform and like any art should be judged for themselves. Mosaic4u’stechnicians then make changes as needed to the images until the customer iscompletely satisfied.Traditionally, mosaics are manually assembled by hand by skilled craftsmenin an extremely time-consuming and costly process which puts them out of reach of all but the very affluent. Mosaic4u has revolutionized the mosaicindustry by using robots to produce mosaics. Use of a robot to assemble themosaic makes it possible to offer the product at a substantially lower costthan a hand-made mosaic while also increasing the accuracy of tile
 
 placement and reducing leadtime. However, the company had a difficulttime finding a robot that would fit the requirements of the application.The robot requirements for this application are primarily speed, low costsand the ability to operate for millions of cycles. Most industrial robots aredesigned to lift heavier weights and maintain higher levels of accuracy thanare required in this application. As a result, they are so expensive that theywould be difficult to justify here. Mosaic4u first purchased an off-the-shelrobot but had difficulty making it work and when the company finally didget it running it turned out to be much too slow. The company made acomprehensive survey of industry robots but could not find one that met itsneeds.
Robots meet tough requirements
Then it discovered Techno’s Blueline series of belt-driven robots which areavailable in kits at a lower cost than off-the-shelf robots and can beconfigured to meet the needs of specific applications. Techno's Bluelinerobots can be configured up to 1550 x 2600 mm (61 x 102 inches) of travelwith maximum speeds up to 2.4 meters per second. This gives the user alarge format, high speed robot at a low price. A complete system for $9,200.00 includes a completely assembled 3 axis robot with travel of 1043x 1043 x 143 mm, PCI motion controller that plugs into a PC, power electronics assembled in enclosure with power supply and Windows-basedautomation software.Each axis is contained in an aluminum housing with a protective top cover.This allows the robots to stand up to industrial applications. Three axes of simultaneous motion can be provided to perform difficult multi-axismotions. Techno's Cartesian robots provide smooth and continuous motionto avoid puddling when dispensing fluids or working with solder. Thesystem can be mounted over very large parts or conveyor systems. Thisgives the unit great flexibility. An optional library of motion routines isavailable for software development for OEM applications.Mosaic4u purchased a Blueline robot kit and two technicians got it workingin this assembly application in just one day. The robot quickly demonstratedits ability to assemble 1000 tiles per hour or 16 tiles per minute, whichexceeds the requirements of the application. Now, as soon as the customer approves the computerized mosaic design, Mosaic4u’s proprietary software
 
divides the mosaic into 300 by 300 mm (12 by 12 inch) sheets and generatesG-code programs for the Blueline robot to automatically assemble eachsheet. The robot picks each tile with a vacuum gripper and glues it face-on toa transparent carrier sheet. Each mosaic sheet is labeled with the mosaicsheet’s xy coordinates.
Assembling the mosaic
A typical four square meter mosaic weighs about 25 kg and fits into a boxmeasuring 320 by 320 by 300 millimeters. Assembly of the mosaic murals issimple and requires the same skills required to install any mosaic wallcovering.The company does not design its mosaics in straight rows and columnsunless requested by the customer. This means that the edges of the sheets arenot straight lines but rather consist of a step-like pattern. This feature helpseliminate visible stitch marks between the sheets. The sheets combine insuch a way that the film edges are almost touching each other and the tilesflow naturally from one sheet to the next.Mosaic4u recommends that after placing each sheet the customer shouldfasten it to neighboring sheets with the supplied transparent adhesive stripsthat are supplied with its mosaics. The customer glues each sheet to all of the adjoining sheets using one stripe for each stitch. After the glue has bonded completely, the transparent sheets can be removed. The back side of each carrier board is then glued to the wall. Grout can be applied betweenthe mosaic tiles if desired.“When you look at a mosaic mural from a longer distance (2 meters awayfor 1 square meter mosaics or 6 meters away for 4 square meter mosaics) anew perspective kicks in,” Glass said. “Light projection at an appropriateangle on the mosaic creates a fascinating effect of light and color. From alonger distance you will notice details that are not apparent at a closedistance. Our unique design software provides three-dimensional effects thatmake certain image features “jump out of the wall.”Mosaic4u uses high quality glass tiles of the type that last for decades in pools, wall coverings and other applications. The tiles are water resistant,will not wear and will not fade even under direct sunlight. Across the globethere are many mosaics that have survived for centuries and even

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