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When it comes to roof gluing, vision systems such as the one in operation at FCA Cassino will lead to a return on investment in a short time

Inos RobcadVision systems have become a very powerful tool for automotive manufacturers, allowing them to increase productivity and overall quality while simultaneously reducing warranty claims and scrap costs. In this particular example, taken from Inos’s work with Lorenzo Marsano, head of the Alfa Romeo Giulia BIW project at the FCA Cassino assembly plant, the Inos vision system conducts two robot guidance (automated assembly) operations. The first activity involves the robot removing the roof panel from a part rack and the second activity entails mounting the roof panel to the painted car body.

Through the use of Inos G-Sens laser triangulation sensors, the location of the roof panel is identified and the robot is guided into position for a repeatable pick-up process. The Inos system then uses those measurements to perform a quick dimensional check against production tolerances to ensure the roof panel is within specifications before proceeding forward with the mounting process.

Additionally, the absence of any mechanical devices used for the centring of the roof inside the gripper also avoids the risk of damaging the roof. This particular system has also been implemented with the innovative capability to automatically change the robot gripper in order to increase the flexibility of the system and allow for easy commissioning of new, future production models.

Reducing errors and waste while improving the overall efficiency of the plant contributes to the fast return on investment of the system.

Perfect symmetry

Before the second step of the process, where the panel is attached the car body, a cordon of glue is applied to the perimeter of the roof. This operation is also guided and optimised by the Inos vision system. Once the roof panel has been properly prepared, the vision system calculates a compound offset – using measurements from the roof panel and the car body opening to guide the robot into position and seamlessly locate the roof panel in the exact centre of the vehicle’s opening. The Inos solution creates a perfect symmetrical assembly with equal gaps on both sides of the vehicle. While the gripper-mounted sensors collect all the images required for the application, the calculations and optimisations are performed using industrial, high-performance PCs (with the data transfer between sensorand PC taking place via GigE Ethernet) which further enhance system capability and flexibility.

At the end of the assembly process, a final set of quality control measurements are conducted to ensure that all has gone according to plan and to guarantee process quality. This valuable data is stored on the system and can be easily viewed and analysed using a powerful proprietary software module provided by Inos. The data can be quickly accessed locally by a floor operator or remotely via a standard web browser client.

At your fingertips

Inos Maestro and G-Station software is built upon a new and very intuitive operator interface. The interface guides the user through the configuration of various applications (some simple and some complex) to optimise overall system ease-of-use. The innovative software guides the operator step-by-step though the installation sequence and then conducts a validation test at the conclusion of the process to review the results in real time.

The Inos Maestro software module also contains a powerful and diverse communication package which can operate with virtually any robot (for example: ABB, Comau, Fanuc, Kuka, Yaskawa, Panasonic, Kawasaki, Universal) or PLC (for example: Siemens, Allen Bradley, Rockwell, Omron) We strive to allow you to use the robot or PLC of your choice in order to optimise the efficiency and effectiveness of your existing workforce and limit additional training or spare parts inventory. System status messages, alarm options, and reaction plans can be customised according to your particular standards. We will build your Inos solution to fit your specific needs. The Inos Maestro software also offers the ability to manage additional I/O modules and components. For example, many customers find value in using coloured stack lights to constantly report the status of the system. This simple, but expedient, option allows users to quickly understand and digest a large amount of information at a glance and further contributes to the value of the system.

The Inos system can also control mechanisms such as electrically driven linear guides, pneumatic valves, and even receive inputs from external interfaces controlled by your operators.

Inos offers a comprehensive, onboard reporting and analysis package to quickly turn data into actionable information. G-Analyzer is accessible remotely using any standard web-browser and does not require the customer to load special software onto their work PC or laptop. G-Analyzer places a world of information at your fingertips. In addition to the Inos G-Analyzer reporting suite, customers can provide your key resources with all the information they require by prominently presenting the appropriate results on large, industrial, flat screen monitors. Users can display the precise information for each unit, based on VIN or rotation number or display trend charts of the day’s production results to the upstream assembly team for immediate validation of process adjustments or direction for future process improvements.

Colour spectrum

Inos has recently introduced an enhanced algorithm suite. When the new algorithms are combined with cutting-edge IDS sensors and quad core processing PCs, the vision system can quickly and reliably accommodate multiple colours and extreme colour variations (including carbon fibre). The Inos system is able to automatically detect the full spectrum of colours between black and white and adapt the parameters of image collection and algorithm execution resulting in consistent, robust measurements.

Return on investment

The ultimate goal for Inos is to ensure a fast and efficient return on our customers’ investment. While the relative cost of each system depends greatly on the overall scope of the application and the content contained in the individual project, Inos has specifically designed hardware and software to be scalable in order to perfectly fit the needs and requirements of each customer. Inos combines innovative industrial vision technology with intelligent system software to create powerful, adaptive solutions for the global automotive industry.