Using Vision In South America

Slideshow From: 2/16/2011 Automotive Design & Production

While some people in North America might imagine that manufacturing operations in South America are not as sophisticated as those in the north.

Sensors at Autoliv

Sensors at Autoliv. At the Autoliv plant in Buenos Aires, Argentina, a vision system based on a DVT 630 camera is used to perform 100% inspection of a small (~thumbnail sized) plastic sensor that's used in a seatbelt retractor unit. The check assures that all of the components are present and that the insert isn't installed upside down. During a nine-hour shift, 2,400 assemblies are produced. To confirm that the system is operating properly, an out-of-tolerance part is deliberately put into the system every third shift. When there are bad parts, the vision system communicates with a PLC that ejects the part into a refuse box for subsequent analysis.

Mixed Production at VW

Mixed Production at VW. The Volkwagen/Audi plant in São Paulo is making a variety of vehicles on a daily basis, 700 units per day. One of the issues is to make sure that the right bodies are mated to the correct chassis. There are color-coded pins that are placed on the chassis to assure the proper association with a body. A vision system with three DVT Legend 530s is used to check for the appropriate pins (there is a total of 11 pin placements). Alignment between the chassis and body is also determined to assure that the two are ready to be mated at the subsequent station.

Engines at Ford

Engines at Ford. At the Ford Motor engine facility in Taubaté-São Paulo, there are 23 different combinations of heads, blocks and pistons. To assure that the right head is attached to the right block, a system is used to check the pieces prior to assembly. First, the block is passed over a part scanner that determines what it is. This information is transferred via Ethernet to a PLC which, in turn, tells the vision system which product file to select. A robot presents the engine to a DVT Legend 530 camera to verify what it is while a DVT Intelligent Scanner reads a barcode on the head to assure that the one goes with the other.

Wiring Harnesses at Delphi

Wiring Harnesses at Delphi. At the Delphi Curitiba, Brazil, facility, wiring harnesses for the VW Golf and Audi A3 models are produced. Based on model and feature mix, there are over 200 possible combinations. So, to assure the right configuration, a DVT 542 color camera-based system is used to conduct 12 inspections at nine different locations within a one-minute cycle (the camera and LED lighting system are mounted on a rail and moved laterally to the various positions). The particular area of interest is the fuse box. What's needed is information about positioning of the box as well as the specific fuses within the box. Briefly, the sequence includes positioning the assembly, reading a bar code to identify the specific harness, sending the information to the PLC and informing the camera system of the harness configuration, and running the inspection procedure. If the product passes, a label is printed.

Sealing Transmissions

Sealing Transmissions at VW. Sealant is robotically applied at the Volkswagen/Audi plant in Cordoba, Argentina. Problems that can arise include smears, irregular links, or sealant that drips out of place. So to assure that there is consistent application—which is particularly key during the summer, when high ambient temperatures can cause the sealant to melt and possibly leave gaps in the seam—a system employing two DVT Legend 530 cameras, a SmartLink, brick lights, and a back light was engineered. There are 35 different products on the line and on the order of three part changes per day. Yet the vision system is capable of determining that the sealant's width and length are appropriate for each unit.

While some people in North America might imagine that manufacturing operations in South America are not as sophisticated as those in the north, as these following examples from DVT Corp. (Duluth, GA), a vendor of vision systems, indicate, its products are being put to good use on the southern continent. (DVT is represented by Omni International in Brazil and Murten System Controls in Argentina.) Quality demands are becoming uniformly high across the global scene.