Industry 4.0 to Suit: Smart Gloves
Inspection and Identification
Solutions for automated final optical inspection
Integrate automated quality inspection processes cost-effectively with Schmachtl
We offer a variety of solutions to automate quality assurance for your company. Products with large quantities and high quality standards are best suited for this. From position monitoring to print image and label inspection to detailed geometric inspection, we can find the right solution for a wide range of industries.
Many automated processes require non-contact position detection. Especially in the textile industry, contacts with the material should be avoided if possible, as they could damage the sensitive surfaces or even cause a machine standstill. Although position detection at standstill is a robust standard feature in industrial automation, optimum system solutions require fast controls as well as comprehensive know-how in the areas of drive technology and control engineering. That's why it has always been our goal to combine both: in-depth system knowledge and first-class technologies.
Let us illustrate our approach to automation projects with a real-world case study:
Bandage fabrics are produced in wide webs and cut into strips in a later step. The individual webs are separated by a gap and must also be cut precisely according to this. Since the fabric is not uniform across the width, the knife position must be continuously readjusted to achieve an optimum cut.
- Fast: Even at high production speeds, high quality and high productivity levels are guaranteed
- Non-contact: It can be produced without interruption while preventing damage to the fabric.
- Universal: Different fabric types and web widths can be processed.
We equipped the machine with a detection/control system that detects the position of the gap and tracks the knife position to the warp thread. The image processing system can thus determine the structure for different types of textiles. In addition, the cutting units can be individually adjusted to different web widths, as they operate independently.
In many industrial applications, the geometries of components must be precisely identical down to the micrometer range, which is crucial for product quality. Each component has a very specific shape, but do two of those parts actually have exactly the same shape? And is this also the case for hundreds, thousands or even more parts? Automated optical quality control is often the best solution here.
An automotive supplier was faced with the task of automatically measuring components with high accuracy before they were further processed. Each individual part was to be inspected. The required tolerance was +/- 50 micrometers. In addition, the system had to be quickly adaptable to different quality standards in different countries.
- Saving manual final inspection: through fully automated gapless inspection of each part. In addition, the test results are stable and independent of subjective fluctuations.
- Automatic calibration: and remote controllability of all settings. Thus, the system can be easily adapted to different tolerances and parameters.
- Documented quality: The camera reads a serial number attached to each test piece. The acquired measured values are stored together with the serial number.
The handling of many small parts involves certain risks, for example when loading packaging units. A part can easily be overlooked and the package delivered to the customer incomplete. Or the wrong part sneaks in. Especially at high cycle speeds, the human eye tires quickly and the error rate increases. With an automated optical inspection, all parts are sure to be in the right place. Schmachtl offers customized camera systems for this task.
A manufacturer of electronic circuits wants to ensure the consistent quality of its products during packaging as well. Since assembly is to be done manually, errors can creep in here. For example, a tray may not be fully loaded or the wrong part may go in. At the manual workstations, when electronic components are loaded, it should be checked whether the correct parts have been completely inserted.
- No influence on the workflow: The camera system and the infrared lighting are installed above the workstation and are not perceived by the employee as disturbing.
- Easily expandable: due to modular system design. This allows a flexible response to new component types or increasing throughput.
- Cost-effective: due to the realization with a compact smart camera. Thus, the installation of an additional PC system is not required.
Schmachtl chose a solution based on a compact smart camera. This allows future additional workstations to be easily expanded in a modular fashion. By means of a camera system above the respective tray and an infrared illumination, images of the tray currently being loaded are captured. The images are taken manually. The system only releases the tray when it is correctly and completely populated.
Comprehensive testing or representative sampling? When it comes to quality inspection, many companies are faced with this question. Often random sampling is not enough, especially for high-priced products or small quantities, 100% quality control is essential. The same applies to companies that are active in the supply chain in the automotive or aerospace industry. In the internal rankings that exist here, you can only stay at the top with continuously high quality. Inspection systems from Schmachtl support you in this.
To be tested are car batteries at an automotive supplier. More than 40 quality-relevant characteristics must be inspected "inline," i.e., while the product is moving on the assembly line. A 100% inspection of each individual battery is also required. This is the only way to meet the high quality requirements of the customer that are typical in the automotive industry.
- Continuous documentation: The entire inspection process is logged. Due to the complete electronic documentation, a later traceability is easily possible.
- Fast amortization: by saving the manual final inspection while increasing the reproducibility of the test results.
- Future-proof: by flexible expandability by new battery types. By means of remote maintenance can be expanded at any time by new product variants.
Directly on the assembly line, several cameras are installed that record the batteries from different sides. Products detected as defective are automatically ejected for rework. Among other things, the system checks for missing characters or colors and identifies incorrect or missing prints. Eight batteries can be checked per minute.
Errors in printing are always undesirable - whether in packaging, nameplates or barcodes. At best, they are an unsightly annoyance to the eye; at worst, they are an indication of poor product quality. Modern inspection technologies reliably detect defective prints and sort them out immediately. Schmachtl offers not only the necessary sensor technology for capturing print images on the assembly line (even at high speed), but also the appropriate software for analysis, evaluation and documentation.
A control station had to be installed at the customer's site to check each package fully automatically for correctness of the print and integrity of the film. A particular challenge here was the high production speed of up to 400 packs per minute. The system also had to cope with a product variety of 25 pack variants, different film colors and around 100 different texts.
- Easy operation: The programming of new packaging variants can - without complicated training - be done quickly by the plant operator's employees.
- Better production flow: Defective packaging is detected early and ejected from the process. Later disruptions in the production flow, e.g. due to jammed packaging, are thus prevented.
- Control of numerous parameters: The PatMax vision software allows simultaneous inspection of many features, such as alignment of the image, dents, text, film tears.
A vision sensor inspects the packages on the assembly line for various features. For example, it checks the correct orientation of the film on the package. The sophisticated image processing software compares measured features of the image with the taught reference image. In addition, the corners are checked for dents and the films for tears. This system, installed by Schmachtl, has reduced customer complaints to zero.
At the end of production at the latest, goods are packaged individually or in batches and marked with codes. These codes must be flawless in terms of content and appearance and precisely placed. An error in the production process can significantly affect the quality and printing result of the codes. In largely automated production processes, a faulty or incorrect label is not noticed immediately. In the worst case, the incorrectly labeled products even reach the end consumer via the intermediate trade.
- Packaging industry
- Production industry
- Label verification and quality control at the end of the production line
- Wide automated production processes
- Cost savings: the costs of manual rework are eliminated
- Increased productivity due to automatic code recognition
- Safe against mistyping: reference code is read in quickly and reliably
- Future-proof even with later changes to the code no retooling necessary.