Pick-and-place manipulators have become one of the principal components of almost all manufacturing plants. The process of sizing the number of manipulators required to efficiently carry out pick-and-place tasks depends on the complexities of such plants, the characteristics of the production line and the particular requirements. These aspects tend to make the sizing procedure rather complex and time consuming. Moreover, the results are closely linked to the accuracy of the input data that is usually, especially in the initial stages, unreliable and haphazard. To face these issues, the simulation tools currently available in the market are not always suitable. In this paper, a practical procedure to size the number of manipulators required in any particular plant to perform pick-and-place tasks is presented. This procedure results in a relatively simple tool capable of calculating the number of robots required in a line knowing the layout, type of robot to be used, and production characteristics. This tool is able to simulate the different distribution of goods on the line as well as the required strategies for picking in a multi-robot environment to test several production situations and assess the accuracy of the sizing.
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