Design and Integration of an Automotive Assembly Error Proofing System

An automobile manufacturer approached Mercator Robotec to develop an assembly error proofing system to inspect the presence, placement, and orientation of its automobile roof headers and bows. Mercator Robotec designed a three-camera machine vision inspection system to detect assembly errors for four different car body styles (identified by line PLC before each inspection cycle). If a defect is detected, the system stops the part handling conveyor and sounds an audible alarm, allowing the operator to correct errors in these manually installed areas.

Mercator Robotec integrated this automotive assembly inspection system into the customer’s existing car body conveyor system. Our services included the design, construction, and installation of a control panel, PLC programming (Allen Bradley PLC5), and HMI application development. The electrical enclosure includes a 15” panel PC, with an HMI that displays production statistics (pass, fail and specific defect counts for each part style), failed part images (which are also saved to disk), and image and graphic inspection results for each inspection cycle. The customer also received documentation (SolidWorks mechanical detail drawings, AutoCAD electrical drawings, and operating instructions) and softcopies of all of Mercator Robotec’s machine vision inspection software, HMI software, and PLC software.

To learn more about this project, or other products and services, please contact Mercator Robotec.

Project Highlights for Automotive Assembly Error Proofing System

Product Description Mercator Robotec Inc. designed and integrated this 3 camera Machine Vision System to inspect the presence, placement and orientation of roof headers and bows for an automobile. The roof bows and headers are manually installed in the station upstream from the machine vision system. The machine vision system detects any assembly errors and alerts the operator to correct defects before the car body is released for further production steps.
Capabilities Applied/Processes Design of Machine Vision Inspection System

  • Development of System
  • Develop System to Inspect/Check:
    • Presence, Placement & Orientation

Development of HMI Application
Design, construction and installation of a control panel
PLC Programming – Allen Bradley PLC5
Integration – the inspection system was integrated into the existing conveyor system that was handling the car bodies

  • Mechanical Detail Drawings utilizing SolidWorks
  • Electrical drawings – AutoCAD
  • Operating Instructions
  • Soft copies of all inspection software, HMI software and PLC software
System Features & Specifications Machine Vision Systems

  • Two PPT DSL 7000 Cameras
  • Near Infrared LED Strobe Lights To Illuminate Various Headers & Bows
  • Two LED Strobe Lights for Inspection of Front Header & Center Bow
  • Three LED Strobe Lights for Inspection of Rear Header, Center Bow
  • Two PPT C-30 Impact processors
  • The system inspects 4 different car body styles. The part style is provided to the machine vision controller by the line PLC before each inspection cycle.
  • The part handling conveyor is stopped and an audible alarm is activated when a defective part is detected by the machine vision system.

Human Machine Interface (HMI) – 15″ panel PC

  • Captures and displays production statistics – pass, fail and specific defect counts for each part style
  • Displays and saves to hard disk – Failed part images
  • Password protected inspection parameter setup page
  • Image and graphical inspection results displayed for each inspection cycle

Electrical Enclosure to House Control Equipment

  • Allen Bradley Flex I/O
  • Machine vision processors
  • Power supplies, fuses, circuit breakers, disconnect
  • 480 VAC to 120 VAC transformer/power conditioner
  • Red, Green, Yellow stacklight
  • Audible alarm
  • 15″ Panel PC for the HMI mounted on the door
In process testing performed System functionality was validated by challenging the inspection system with known defective parts.
Industry for Use Automotive
Delivery Time 4 to 6 weeks
Standards Met Customer supplied specifications
Product Name Automotive Assembly Error Proofing System