Dexterous Cobot Speeds Inspection

On one of its lines at its Youngstown, Ohio, facility, contract manufacturer Comprehensive Logistics Inc. builds both gasoline and diesel engine subassemblies.

On one of its lines at its Youngstown, Ohio, facility, contract manufacturer Comprehensive Logistics Inc. (complog.com) builds both gasoline and diesel engine subassemblies. At the end of the line there’s inspection of each completed part, with the gas version requiring the check of 9 points and the diesel 11 points. And there’s 60 seconds available to do it.

The company tried manual inspection. Then it tried to use multiple stationary cameras. It wasn’t adequate, says Mike O’Keefe, value-added assembly superintendent. The problem was that the cameras couldn’t be mounted where needed in order to see into tight spaces.

The solution was found through the deployment of a collaborative robot (cobot) that moves a camera in and out of those tight spots. The ceiling-mounted Universal Robots (universal-robots.com) UR10 cobot is equipped with a Keyence CA-HX200 C Lumitrax vision camera, which it moves between inspection points, snapping a picture of each before it retracts to a “home” position and waits for the next assembly.

Each image taken is immediately shown on a screen next to the cobot while a second screen with a diagram of the engine cradle shows each completed inspection point with either a green or a red check mark to indicate pass or failure to the cobot’s human collaborator.

The entire operation takes about 32 seconds.

“The dexterity of the robot enables it to get underneath where the mission-critical points are and be 100 percent repeatable,” says O’Keefe. The system integrated easily with the processes and people on the line, with no need for light curtains or fencing for safety, he notes.