Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

3D scans for the automotive industry

16.01.2017

How does an automotive assembly line have to be retrofitted for a change of model? 3D scanners are an elegant way to find this out. Professor of computer science, Andreas Nüchter, is a specialist for the job.

The variety of car models has increased significantly over the past decades. Take Volkswagen: In 1950, the automaker produced just two model ranges – the Beetle and the transporter.


Section of an automotive production line and a simulated model as a 3D cloud of dots. The places where collisions would occur after a change of model are highlighted in red.

Picture: Andreas Nüchter

This number had grown to ten by 1990, and today around 20 different models are rolling off assembly lines. Counting all twelve makes of the Volkswagen Group, the number even totals 300 models – trucks, buses and motor bikes included.

Long gone are the times when one factory fabricated the same car for years on end. There is a trend towards more frequent model changes and smaller volumes. A car factory with just one production line suitable to manufacture multiple models is what the future will look like.

"This would require increased flexibility in production, more robots and a higher level of digitisation," says Andreas Nüchter, Professor of Computer Science at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität (JMU) of Würzburg in Bavaria, Germany.

3D models of production lines

Nüchter is working to achieve to this goal. His team (Dorit Bormann, Florian Leutert, and Johannes Schauer) supports the group "Virtual Technologies of Corporate Research" of Volkswagen AG with the digitisation of production lines in preparation for a change of model: For this purpose, the computer scientists send a 3D scanner through the production line during live operation and then use the data to generate virtual three-dimensional images of the production facility. Subsequently, they simulate how the production line has to be converted to manufacture the new model.

Scanning and evaluating the data takes about a month. Why so much effort when there are construction plans of the production plant available? "These plans are never up to date, because minor adjustment are being made all the time during live production," the JMU professor explains. "Previously, polystyrene models of the new car types were therefore sent through the production line to determine bottlenecks and other obstacles," Nüchter says.

The solution of the Würzburg scientists is certainly more up to date. The 3D scanner moreover allows them to cover areas that are difficult to access such as the tunnels where the vehicles' paintwork is dried.

"We were commissioned by Volkswagen to go through this process for the new launches of the models Tiguan and Crafter," Nüchter explains. It turned out, for example, that the ceilings of the production halls had to be converted to prevent collisions in the Crafter production.

The goal: automated data evaluation

What is challenging about this job is not to scan the production environment, but to evaluate the scan data. "This is why we are seeking to automate as much of this step as possible," Nüchter explains. Presently, his team is also working on further developing the corresponding software.

But the activities for Volkswagen are just a by-product of Nüchter's research. His actual expertise is mobile robots that scan their surroundings using 3D scanning systems. "Ultimately, it's no big difference whether we operate a scanner on a mobile robot or let it pass through an automotive assembly line," the professor states.

Contact

Prof. Dr. Andreas Nüchter, Institute of Computer Science, University of Würzburg, T +49 931 31-88790, andreas.nuechter@uni-wuerzburg.de


Robert Emmerich | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Further information:
http://www.uni-wuerzburg.de

More articles from Automotive Engineering:

nachricht The car of the future – sleeper cars and travelling offices too?
18.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

nachricht Self-driving cars for country roads
07.05.2018 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology, CSAIL

All articles from Automotive Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>