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Auto part maker raises productivity with sheet inspection cell

An automotive parts manufacturer has installed an inspection cell to improve productivity when making printed sheets, such as those used on dashboards.

The engineering firm One Box Vision developed the sheet inspection system, which uses multiple colour cameras from Chromasens capable of scans at a resolution of 50µm, a dual LED lighting system, and Bitflow frame grabbers.

The Asix system also has a collaborative robotic arm for sheet handling and for marking any rejected sheets. With a cycle time of 20 seconds per part, Asix scans sheets in both directions under varying illumination conditions to highlight different features of the product.

Sheets sizes of up to 30 x 40 inches can be processed by the system.

A Bitflow Axion-CL 2xE frame grabber means Asix can deliver one Gigabit of acquired colour images per second to the PC.

Data from both scans is analysed by One Box Vision SheetFlow machine vision software in real time. If a defect is detected by the software it instructs the robotic arm to mark the part for removal.

The robot has a vacuum to lift and move the sheets, a sensor to detect stack height, and an industrial marking system to spray defective parts.

Prior to coming to One Box Vision, the manufacturer was facing several challenges. The volume for its high-end automotive parts was rising, while the availability of skilled operators was dropping, therefore making the consistency of inspection an issue. The goal was to design an automated cell that would accelerate the inspection and improve productivity while reducing returns.

In addition to the sheets it was originally develop to inspect, Asix can handle other substrates from 15µm to 1.55mm in thickness, such as plastic film, paper, foil and non-woven substrates.

‘Building line scan applications always presents the challenge of knowing how to trigger, synchronise multiple cameras, and then stitch and blend the images,’ said Connor O'Neill, president of One Box Vision. ‘Bitflow Axion-CL 2xE frame grabbers have proven to be highly reliable for the task. The StreamSync Direct Memory Access (DMA) engine and buffer manager prevent overloading of the PC's CPU with image transfer operations, while the PCIe Gen 2 expansion bus delivers high-speed access to host memory. The Axion-CL 2xE has worked out very well in the Asix and other demanding projects we've taken on.’

Bitflow has also worked with One Box Vision in developing the PackFlow 100 per cent print inspection bundle, which improves the way the packaging industry inspects materials printed on high-speed web presses.


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