6 Automotive Applications for Robotic Vision Systems
Though not often in plain sight, robotic vision systems play a significant role in everyday life. In particular, this rings true for the automotive industry, which uses the technology to simultaneously produce safe, high-quality vehicles for the end user and improve the manufacturer’s bottom line.
In automotive applications, these vision systems are pre-programmed to complete specific tasks, which are then carried out by a robot. For example, Recognition Robotics’ CortexRecognition® technology pairs with its Robeye® hardware system for a solution that has the ability to pick a vehicle’s body side from a rack or power and free conveyor.
Take a look below at several common applications for how robotic vision systems and their robot counterparts are used in the automotive industry.
Robotic vision systems can be used to assemble small parts, such as pumps and motors, or perform other tasks such as windshield installation, door hanging and wheel mounting. Using this technology to perform product assembly tasks is particularly beneficial when it comes to keeping products moving on the assembly line. For example, when implementing a robotic vision system to install parts on a chassis, manufacturers won’t have to stop the assembly line if a chassis’ position changes. This is evident in software like CortexRecognition®, which operates in six degrees of freedom and doesn’t need to “see” assembly line products in a fixed position.
In addition, using this technology in assembly lines helps increase productivity, as the robots and systems don’t fatigue, maintaining a consistent production flow. The systems also reduce bottlenecks caused by human error, cut costs and improve safety.
Inspections and Error Proofing
Identifying part defects early on in the production process is critical for manufacturers, saving time and money. Robotic vision systems have the ability to identify both surface and functional defects at a fast, consistent rate—during parts inspections and final product inspections—which helps ensure a high-quality end product manufactured at a lower cost. They also have the ability to identify missing or incorrect parts, which is critical for customer safety.
Similar to their role in inspecting specific parts and products, robotic vision systems also have the power to identify errors in real time during the production process, signaling the issue and allowing for immediate fixes. Several well-known manufacturers, such as Ford and GM, use robotic vision systems to ensure errors are caught and corrected before a process can continue.
Implementing a robotic vision system, a robot can autonomously select parts out of structured and semi-structured racks. These parts can include body sides, underbodies, side sills, B-pillars, roofs, door inners and outers, rockers, floor pans, aprons, axels, transmissions and castings, and engine blocks. In conjunction, robotic vision systems can also choose parts from a pile, conveyor or automated guided vehicle.
Technologies such as CortexRecognition® and Robeye® are able to recognize objects as small as 1×3 inches and as large as the side body panel of an SUV, which allows for greater flexibility within the automotive plant. Watch them in action in a deracking application.
Sealing and Painting
Ensuring a proper seal between components is paramount at an automotive plant, as the quality of the seal can affect the product’s lifespan, quality and overall safety. Robotic vision systems can create a consistent seal between parts and spray an even coat of paint on the vehicle. When programmed correctly, robots can perform these tasks more efficiently and at a cheaper cost than manual labor.
Because pistons are the driving force behind a running vehicle, automotive manufacturers need to ensure they are installed correctly. Robotic vision systems can complete this critical task efficiently, ensuring the parts are aligned properly before entering and within the engine block.
Manufacturers use traceability to keep track of items within the production process. Vehicle parts feature data matrix codes or barcodes, which can be read by robotic vision systems to determine a part’s location, history, inspection data and application. For example, if an airbag doesn’t deploy in an accident, the manufacturer tracing the airbag can look at the part’s history, identify what caused the issue and take appropriate action.
Overall, this data allows the manufacturer to determine part quality, defects and where they can improve efficiency, which can help save time and money.
Implementing Robotic Vision Technology into your Plant
Choosing the right robotic vision technology for your automotive plant applications can be an arduous task, involving hours of research and testing. Contact us to request a demo of CortexRecognition® technology, our visual recognition and guidance software, and we can show you how our proven robotic vision technology can improve your plant’s efficiency.
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