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End-of-line testing system

Manta and Prosilica GT cameras inspect car door panels

The engineers at Ziemann & Urban developed a tailor-made, end-of-line testing system that is capable of achieving 100% control over produced car door panels. Manta and Prosilica GT cameras visually support the verification of completeness and quality of the interior configuration and ambiance lighting of the door panels.

The challenge

Choice versus requirements

Red or blue ambient lighting? Cloth or leather? Functional design – individually arranged according to personal taste. What sounds like an interior designer’s advertising slogan, represents a challenge for an automated inspection system used to inspect car door panels. The combination of options a customer can select when building his own model, with the help of an online configurator, seem to be unlimited. High individuality and customer orientation equates to demanding tasks for automotive manufacturers. Due to varying feature details, the production of these automotive parts cannot be standardized. Each part must be set up separately.

Simultaneously, industrial requirements have increased over the last few years: the automation and speed of production processes are expected to continue rising, as well as the required quality of processes and products. In addition, legal requirements like the traceability of goods and parts should be met. Thus, comprehensive documentation and visualization of production processes play an increasing role. Also, all this needs to be completed in both industrial and clean room conditions.

The solution

Specific cameras for varied inspection tasks

The 5 Megapixel Manta cameras (Manta G-504) complete the attributive inspection and color recognition (for example the color of the leather, seam, seam contour, clips, rubber plug, function button). Complex and contorted systems often require the additional use of the ultra-compact Mako camera (Mako G-125) with its sugar cube housing sized 60.5 x 29 x 29 mm.

Several high-resolution Prosilica GT cameras fulfill the task of checking the course and intensity of the line lighting in addition to the inspection of the surfaces. The complete inspection (visual and electric) of all parts only takes approximately 23 seconds, thanks to deferred workflow steps. Universal holders and the high number of cameras allow the inspection of four different door panels (for example front, back, left and right, for a coupé, cabriolet or SUV model) in one single system. To ensure a fast transfer of high data volumes, only GigE Vision cameras are used.

The door panels are transported to the inspection station equipped with the cameras either manually or automatically by workpiece carriers. The parts are connected to a power supply via a docking system. Supplied with electricity, the functionality and correctness of ambiance lighting and other electronic components can be checked. To ensure proper illumination, it is analyzed whether the light intensity right and uniform, or whether there are there any hot or dark spots. The cameras capture images of the door panels from different perspectives. As a result, high-resolution inspection images are available not only for the special regions of interest, but also for those of non-inspected areas.

The benefits

Analysis and protocol

Ziemann & Urban developed an analysis software that applies special analytical algorithms. Based on the generated images, it delivers a visualization of the inspection results. A diagram on the screen shows where and which kinds of defects are occurring and which components are affected. Each part identified as defective is listed in a rework protocol. To meet the requirements of quality management regarding traceability and documentation, all analysis results (displayed as both graphical presentation and pure data) for each part are saved and indexed.

By now, different manufacturers of door panels in Europe, Asia and America benefit from this solution. Due to the automation and standardization of the inspection process they save time and costs despite the high individuality of parts. At the same time, automotive suppliers comply with the legal and economical demands of traceability and 0% error rate while remaining competitive. 

High quality color images make the automated inspection very precise and efficient.

The cameras: Manta G-504 and Prosilica GT

The 5 Megapixel Manta cameras (Manta G-504) complete the attributive inspection and color recognition (for example the color of the leather, seam, seam contour, clips, rubber plug, function button). The camera incorporates the high quality Type 2/3 (11.016 mm diagonal) Sony ICX655 CCD sensor. At full resolution, this camera runs at 9.2 frames per second. With a smaller region of interest, higher frame rates are possible.

Several high-resolution Prosilica GT cameras fulfill the task of checking the course and intensity of the line lighting in addition to the inspection of the surfaces. The rugged housing optimized for heat dissipation makes Prosilica GT the ideal solution for harsh environments. The various lens control options allow constant adjustment of the image brightness to changing light conditions. Offering resolutions of up to 31 megapixels, they are ideal for high-definition imaging applications with demanding requirements of robustness and design-in flexibility.

 

 

Highlights at a glance

  • High-quality color images that make automated inspection very precise and efficient
  • Time and cost savings despite the high individuality of the parts
  • Traceability and 0% error rate