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Cognex vision installed in Nissan production line

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Cognex In-Sight cameras have been successfully installed at one of the most productive automotive manufacturing plants in Europe. The system, supplied by Capley Marker, a Cognex partner system integrator based in Warrington, UK, is used on the Nissan Micra and Note production lines to guide a mechanical centraliser in manipulating glass windowpanes.

The key project requirement was to determine the glass type on the line, which could be one of four variants; Micra fixed side window right hand side (RHS) and left hand side (LHS); Note fixed side window RHS and LHS. A similar system is used on a second line that produces the Qashqai.

Two In-Sight 5100 cameras are used on this line with one camera placed in each cell on the side of the assembly line. Each camera is fixed at the required height by a rigid steel stand mounted to the cell base. The In-Sight cameras use Cognex's PatMax technology. PatMax utilises advanced geometric pattern matching technology to locate parts reliably and accurately.

Using a Fanuc 6-axis robot with RJ-2 control, the cameras provide the robot with two vital pieces of information. Firstly, a digital signal from the camera is sent to the robot confirming the glass variant. Then, a serial string is sent from camera to robot with the coordinates of the glass so the robot picks the glass up in the same position each cycle. The exact coordinates measured are X, Y and the angle of the glass on the vision part of the cell (front to back, side to side and twist).

The robot locates the glass from the data supplied by the vision system, manipulates the glass edge through a fixed nozzle that applies a continuous bead of mastic to it and finally transfers the glass to an offload position where the operator applies it to the vehicle.

It was imperative that the new vision system would not only provide accurate information for the two new models, but also that it would adapt easily to future product developments. Rory McCrystal, the project engineer responsible for the installation, commented: 'This vision system provides accurate and reliable readings, essential for our production lines. The system will better support new product introduction, as it is more flexible than before. Based on this improved flexibility it is predicted that there will be a significant reduction in changeover time during future new product introduction.'

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