Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Intelligent system for the detection of cracks in links on assembly lines

12.05.2004


A group of researchers at the Public University of Navarre, together with Volkswagen Navarra, have designed an individual system for the intelligent detection of cracks in links in production assembly lines to which a detector of wear and tear in bolts has been incorporated.



The project is part of the joint working agreement that Volkswagen Navarra have had with the Public University of Navarre since 1997 and which has produced a number of results in the field of applied R+D. In this case in concrete, the research arose from the need to find a technological solution to one of the most common problems occurring in mass production assembly lines.

Inspection of links


These assembly lines are made up of chains of metal links to which the various devices or components forming part of the production process are fitted, the finished product being the article manufactured by the company in question. Given that the line moves at a more or less constant speed, the links are subject to stresses that are greater at some points than at others. This excess stress produces cracks and, in extreme cases, the link itself breaks up.

Until now the inspection of the line in order to detect cracks has been purely visual. However, this system is inefficient as the inspection is carried out while the line is in operation, the links moving at a speed that makes it difficult to identify a fine crack. On the other hand, if the ocular inspection is carried out when the production line is stopped, a proper inspection can take a considerable time.

Optoelectronic system

To solve this problem, researchers at the Public University of Navarre and Volkswagen Navarra worked on several hypotheses for detection systems of cracks in the links and finally opted for an optoelectronic system, one whereby a laser diode is located at an oblique angle to the link. The beam from this reflected from the link surface is received by a photodetector which converts this optical power into an electrical signal.

The basis for the detection is quite simple. The part (the link) moves horizontally at a more or less constant speed. When the part passes the optoelectronic system, there is a rise in the reflected light energy. But, if a crack exists, the reflection is irregular and there is a fall in this optical power, and this is registered by the detection system, thus indicating the presence of a crack.

The power values registered by the optical detector are transferred to a data acquisition card which digitalises and processes the information using a software programme.

The system has the great advantage that it avoids physical contact with the part under inspection. The only requirement is the correct design of the electronic device.
Although the system that is being presented today is a reality, the researchers at the Public University of Navarre and Volkswagen Navarra intend to continue theri joint R+D work with another project: instead of an individual system for each link the detection of cracks and of wear and tear in the bolts, a single system can be installed for each of the 12 production assembly lines that the Volkswagen plant has in Landaben (Pamplona). These would be interconnected by means of a wireless net and centralised at a PC with software for monitoring the state of each and every one of the links and bolts on the factory lines. The aim is that, when an event is detected (a broken link, a worn bolt, etc.) on any of the assembly lines, a brief message indicating the problem is sent to the mobile phone of the maintenance charge-hand.

The possibility of patenting the system is also being studied for its possible use in the rest of the Volkswagen group’s factories, in other vehicle companies as well as in all kinds of factories that have a similar problem.

Contact :
Iñaki Casado Redin
Nafarroako Unibertsitate Publikoa
inaki.casado@unavarra.es
(+34) 948 16 97 82

Iñaki Casado Redin | Basque research
Further information:
http://www.basqueresearch.com/berria_irakurri.asp?Gelaxka=1_1&Berri_Kod=471&hizk=I
http://www.unavarra.es

More articles from Process Engineering:

nachricht Quick, Precise, but not Cold
17.05.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht A laser for divers
03.05.2017 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

All articles from Process Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>