In Detroit's top two carmaker assembly plants, a new, advanced machine vision system, ZoomCheck®, is giving inspectors greater visibility and agility using a purpose-built, light weight, durable mobile tablet to automatically inspect and catalog pictures of assembled car electronics.
With ZoomCheck®, Operator Guided Inspection software installed on a Panasonic TOUGHPAD tablet, operators can more reliably verify electrical connectors are fully seated on parts such as life-saving airbags, seatbelts and windshield wipers. Utilizing ZoomCheck® on a handheld TOUGHPAD tablet allows an inspector the flexibility to get into the nooks and crannies of assembled vehicles for quality control inspections and component traceability. These inspections help prevent field failures and ensure safety for drivers and passengers.
Provide a powerful mobile computing solution for technicians and inspectors to utilize in tight spaces during inspections to capture and instantly analyze high quality images of components and electronics.
Working with Panasonic mobile specialists, Vichine customized its solution with a diffused light source on the back of the device in order to provide additional light and more consistent images.
Vichine's ZoomCheck® vision tool gives inspectors greater visibility and agility helping to improve product quality and manage costs.
"If an airbag connector is "soft seated" in a given vehicle it can vibrate loose preventing deployment when needed." Tom Bartoshesky explains. "What we're able to do is install machine vision tools directly onto the Toughpad, use the tablet camera to take an image and analyze that image. The system automatically performs the inspections to verify the assembly meets specifications. The advantage is you can capture what a fixed camera cannot." explains Tom Bartoshesky, a key manager of Vichine, the company that designed ZoomCheck®.
The ZoomCheck® vision tools utilize the TOUGHPAD tablet's significant processing power in order to verify that connectors are properly seated. Working with Panasonic mobility engineers, Vichine customized its TOUGHPAD-based solution with a diffused light source on the back of the device in order to provide additional light and more consistent images.
Typically, a machine vision system will have fixed cameras mounted above the production line. In the last decade, with the tremendous improvements in camera sensor technology, machine vision software, and portable computational power, capabilities have increased and prices have dropped. Inspection systems that previously would have been technically impossible or not cost effective are now within reach.
"Vichine needed an enterprise-grade tablet with a Windows OS that would withstand the industrial environment of an assembly plant environment and could keep pace with the intensive processing tools constantly running pass or fail inspections, according to Tom Bartoshesky. The Panasonic TOUGHPAD keeps pace with the intensive processing tools running and provides great performance."
With experience in designing and implementing machine vision software for more than 10 years, Jonathan Williams, Chief Engineer at Vichine, adds, "The challenge with machine vision is to limit as many variables as possible. In machine vision the variables are anything that impacts the appearance of the image to be analyzed including focus, intensity, position and scale."
ZoomCheck®, has dedicated LED lighting controlled through the program via the TOUGHPAD. The optimal lighting angle, color and intensity can be selected for each inspection. The ZoomCheck® program also controls focus and uses graphics on the tablet display to guide the operator into the correct position and orientation. The processing power of the device allows ZoomCheck® to run multiple algorithms to compensate for positional variability and scale changes, ensuring the best inspection photos possible and reliable results.