Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Digital Assembly Inspection: Automatic Quality Control Even for Small Quantities

08.05.2013
Like many industries, the aircraft industry manufactures its products in small quantities: Every airline desires its own interiors – production lines are therefore not geared toward mass production.

Manual assembly procedures are typical and assembly jobs change so steadily that automatic quality control has not been worthwhile. Novel software developed at the Fraunhofer IFF is an answer to this:


In model-based assembly inspection, software compares the digital target data of assembled components with the real outcome. Errors are detected immediately. (c) Fraunhofer IFF

Using cameras, it compares the particular CAD data of a product digitally with the finished assembled product and can incorporate modifications with a click of the mouse. Our researchers will be presenting this technology at the Control trade fair (hall 1, booth 1502) in Stuttgart on May 14 to 17.

One day is like the next on automotive assembly lines: Typically, around one thousand vehicles roll off a line every day and workers execute the same actions many times. The situation is entirely different in the aircraft industry: Although the birds of steel are alike on the outside, every airline desires a different interior.

Where are the seats located? What should the overhead compartments look like? Technicians usually leaf through the documents on specific components to see where and how they should be mounted. At what angle do they have to be attached where with what bolts? Once a worker is finished their assembly, she or he rechecks whether everything is in the right spot and confirms that it is. They can overlook errors, though. Humans do not have the same level of concentration every day and they tire toward the evening. Quality inspectors therefore examine individual products closely yet one more time but are not able to inspect every single bolt –100 percent inspection is impossible with manual methods.

Manufacturers therefore want automatic quality control, especially when components are relevant to safety. Approaches to large quantities like those in the automotive industry already exist, which use software to compare assembled components with photographs taken beforehand. This is hardly worthwhile for small production lines, however: All of the components must be assembled first of all and then photographed in order to have reference images for further assembly. If, for example, an airline ordered only four aircraft with the respective interiors, the assembly of only just three could be monitored.

Digital Comparison of Assembled Products with CAD Data

A new technology will now take even the production of such small quantities another step toward defect-free manufacturing and reliable detection of assembly errors. It was developed by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF in Magdeburg. “Rather than using photos of a real assembled component as a reference, we use virtual images to reproduce the ideal state, instead,” says Dr. Dirk Berndt, manager of the Measurement and Testing Technology Business Unit at the Fraunhofer IFF. To do so, the researchers developed software that creates a “photo” – of a product that has not yet even been assembled – from the CAD data and the particular camera positions. The principle: Once a technician has finished assembling a component, a camera takes a picture of it – as during conventional automatic inspection. Rather than comparing this picture with one taken beforehand, the software computes a virtual photo based on the CAD data, which has exactly the same perspective as the picture really taken. All of this is done in seconds, i.e. in real time. The software compares this virtual picture with the picture taken of the real component.

Components No Longer Have to Be Aligned Precisely

This technology has a number of benefits: It can already be used during the assembly of the first product and is therefore worthwhile even for very small quantities. If the CAD data change, only a mouse-click is needed to load the current data into the system. Furthermore, the software allows for the position in which the inspected component is placed before the camera and computes the virtual image accordingly. Thus, the component must not be positioned exactly in the scanned field. Conventional automatic quality control systems require that components be guided under the camera precisely. A comparison is impossible if they are not.

“The technology in and of itself has been developed and is close to being fully perfected,” says Berndt. The researchers intend to be using it in two prototype applications by the end of this year. The researchers will be presenting their technology at the Control trade fair (hall 1, booth 1502) in Stuttgart on May 14 to 17.

René Maresch | Fraunhofer-Institut
Further information:
http://www.iff.fraunhofer.de/en/business-units/measurement-testing-technology/model-based-assembly-inspection.html
http://www.iff.fraunhofer.de/en/press/press-releases/2013/digital-assembly-inspection-automatic-quality-control-even-for-small-quantiti

More articles from Trade Fair News:

nachricht Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining
10.01.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht Diamond Lenses and Space Lasers at Photonics West
15.12.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

All articles from Trade Fair News >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>