Cognex's In-Sight® vision system has been deployed in coordination with a robotic arm to detect product defects on electro-hydraulic automatic transmission control modules produced at Continental Automotive Systems (Tianjin) Co., Ltd. in Tianjin, China. The company installed the In-Sight vision system to ensure it had reliable detection devices in place so it could introduce new products efficiently and rapidly increase the output of the factory’s three production lines.
In the past, Continental Automotive Systems employed manual defect detection, which required a significant length of time and provided no guarantee of product quality reliability. As a result, the company regularly received consumer complaints, which had a strong negative impact on the corporation’s reputation and future business.
To overcome these production challenges, the In-Sight machine vision system first reads 2-D codes on the object being inspected. Then after getting confirmation from Continental Automotive Systems’ production management software that it is the correct part, it conducts defect detection. The defects that the In-Sight vision system identifies include presence of bolts, position and distance of contact pins of connectors, and the presence of adhesive tape. The vision system identifies products that do not conform to the company’s set standards and has them removed. The In-Sight vision system stores a total of ten detection positions shared in a single job file. Changes in the detection position are controlled through the systems input/output (IO) module. Once the detection tasks are completed for the ten positions, the detection results are displayed and sent together with images showing detected defects by FTP to Continental Automotive Systems’ production management software system.
Through system integration, the PLC and a robot-arm are used as the input to the Cognex vision system. Once the robot-arm reaches the assigned position, the vision system informs the input through the IO module to switch product detection positions. Then, the PLC sends a trigger signal to make the vision system take pictures and produce a signal indicating that the end of this part of the inspection has been completed. Next, the PLC sends a command to move the robot-arm to the next position. After completing all the detections, the vision system sends an end of cycle signal. PLC will not send the next trigger signal before it receives the end of cycle signal. When the current product detection is finished, the vision system sends the detection results together with defect pictures by FTP to Continental Automotive Systems’ special production management software system.
Continental Automotive Systems chose Cognex’s PC-based vision defect detection system because it offers outstanding performance and features a powerful spreadsheet tool which allowed them to have more powerful detection capabilities in an easy to use system. The Cognex machine vision defect detections system delivers high-resolution images containing 2 million pixels and it’s solidly constructed and affords a high level of physical protection. Having Cognex’ patented PatMax® vision detection tool built-in was another important reason Continental Automotive Systems ultimately chose Cognex’s system.
Cognex’s machine vision system has helped Continental Automotive Systems increase the quality of its products, guarantee the supply of quality products, and greatly improve customer satisfaction. The Cognex system also provides convenient product tracking and favorable cost saving.
Currently, this factory is setting up a production line of automobile multimedia products and will seriously consider deploying a Cognex vision system to play an integral role in Continental Automotive Systems’ future product defect detection efforts.