With the need for shorter and more flexible production cycles, automotive manufacturers are continuously looking to cut time and costs whilst improving product quality. The Laser Radar mounted on an industrial robot introduces an innovative approach to body-in-white (BIW) inspection. This shop floor system provides accurate, dimensional measurements in the car coordinate system allowing direct comparison to CAD without the need for a reference part. Unlike horizontal-arm CMM, its high-speed measurements fit within short production cycle times. At the same time it is a more flexible solution to adapt with changes in model mix and factory layout.
Shorter startup of new production line or upon vehicle model changes: During the start-up phase of a production line, the first produced vehicles can be completely measured and compared to CAD in a short time. This provides better insight into product conformance and enables faster finetuning of the production process.
Reduced scrap: By closely monitoring the production quality, the manufacturing process can be instantly adjusted when variances occur over time.
Future proof data: Measurements in absolute coordinates fit in the digital manufacturing process where big data is used as a reference to compare data over time and enabling enhanced insight, decision making, process automation and to speed up future product development.
Automated, non-contact measuring system with absolute accuracy
Inline inspection with Laser Radar on robots
By-pass or next-the line inspection with Laser Radar on robots
Inspection cells with rotate table and Laser Radar on vertical lift
Component inspection: Incoming/outgoing
Replacement of horizontal arm CMMs in measurement rooms
Benefits & features
Flexible solution for next-to-the line or in-line inspection
In automotive body-in-white (BIW) assembly, locations of holes, slots, studs and other features need to be measured and monitored to ensure that vehicles are built within the stringent automotive tolerances. Today, such critical measurements are performed by either off-line horizontal-arm CMMs which are very slow and expensive or by dozens of sensors in the production line that need manual configuration and provide relative measurements with low accuracy. These solutions are not fast and flexible enough to cope with the current production challenges.
By-pass inspection station
However, the combination of the Nikon Metrology Laser Radar with common industrial automation provides a unique alternative. A typical full BIW inspection solution consists of Laser Radars on each side of the vehicle, mounted on a 6-axis industrial robot with a horizontal rail. These robots are used to automatically reposition the Laser Radar to provide 360 degrees visibility around the vehicle. The Laser Radar has a large measurement volume, meaning multiple features can be measured from a single robot position keeping the number of robot movements to a minimum.
Incoming component inspection
The Laser Radar can be used directly on the production line and doesn’t need any special protection. Industrial robots are common place in automotive production facilities, are very robust and are easy to reprogram. This results in a flexible solution that can be easily reprogrammed off-line without the need for manual tuning when vehicle models are added or changes in the inspection plan need to be made.
After every repositioning, the Laser Radar is aligned to fixed tooling balls on the car fixture.
Accurate, absolute measurements in car coordinate system
The Laser Radar uses a focused laser beam to perform accurate, contactless measurements on almost any surface, including highly reflective bare body panels as well as shiny painted surfaces. It measures up to 2.000 points/second and has an absolute accuracy
Features such as holes, slots, pins, studs can be quickly inspected using the Laser Radar.The measurement accuracy and repeatability of the Laser Radar is comparable to measurements taken with a traditional horizontal arm touch probe, while it is many times faster. Two Laser Radars working in parallel can measure 700 features on a BIW vehicle in less than one hour; this can take a full shift for traditional CMM. Features such as holes, slots, pins, studs can be quickly inspected using the Laser Radar.
Laser Radar on Robots is up to 6x faster for feature inspection than traditional tactile inspection with horizontal arm CMM.
Seamless integration with common metrology software
Customers can choose from a host of large scale metrology software solutions or use the software SDK to directly control the Laser Radar. Polyworks and Metrolog software are commonly used in conjunction with Laser Radar. This ﬂexibility allows customers to use the software of their choice and beneﬁt from the advantages of the Laser Radar without having to re-train on new software.
Measurements are done in MetrologX4 I-Robot & PolyWorks