Vision system checks parts in 360 degrees

  • March 23, 2016
  • Cognex Corporation
  • Case Study

March 23, 2016 - Meccancotecnica Umbra manufactures seals for pumps for the circulation of anti-freeze liquid in combustion motors. Parts destined for the marketplace need to be 100% without defect and capable of standing up to difficult working environments. Meccanotecnica Umbra realized that they needed a reliable and confirmed quality control solution for the inspection of their parts while in the production phase. After trying various vision suppliers they finally found the solution they needed in the In-Sight 5000 vision system from Cognex.

In the automotive sector every component must be capable of withstanding difficult environmental conditions (vibration, variations in temperature, wind, rain, etc.) Generally different types of pump are used which need to support about 3 bars worth of pressure in order to guarantee the perfect workings of the entire vehicle. Meccancotecnica Umbra decided to use a vision system to satisfy the demanding standards of quality required by the market.

Having chosen a particular vision company they started testing vision systems. After an initial testing phase it was necessary to admit that for various reasons including system limitations and a lack of support from the supplier led to it never getting past the testing phase. The quality inspection of the production cycle was thus continued manually by personnel with all of the limitations this kind of manual inspection can imply.

Luckily, technical experts at Meccancotecnica participated in a Cognex vision seminar and afterward explained their requirements to Cognex asking for a feasibility study for a potential project for quality inspection to check each product passing through their production lines.

The solution was developed by TEC, a partner system integrator (PSI) of Cognex for central Italy. The PSI network is specially selected and trained by Cognex to deliver turnkey solutions for vision and identification applications. They proposed they use the In-Sight 5400 from Cognex as well as two Cognex In-Sight 5401 readers.

Every seal; depending on the type and the dimension, is made up of nine components of a different nature such as carbon, steel springs, silicon, etc. which are then mechanically assembled on an automated line. After the assembly phase, before the pieces are sent to be stacked for distribution, they are sent to three different inspection stations.

At the first inspection station, an In-Sight 5400 takes 24 snapshots of each fully rotating piece in only two seconds to verify the external profile of the seal in a complete 360° inspection.

The second inspection post continues the inspection of the still rotating piece using ten snapshots learned by the camera checking the surfaces of the various parts that make up the seal and verifying their functional aspects.

The third station performs two inspections on the seal which is no longer rotating. In the first, the internal part of the same seal is inspected in about 250 milliseconds and in the second, it is checked whether the product is properly stamped with the model number, the lot number, the company logo and the production date. This is done in less than 600 milliseconds.

The application was developed and installed by TEC in record time; in only 20 days it had been confirmed that the system was capable of working correctly on the prototypes. The installation in the factory was done within a week plus the time it took for the training of the personnel in the use and maintenance of the entire system.

The reliability of the In-Sight vision systems, their capacity to adapt to the varying environmental conditions as well as the powerful vision tools available for Cognex vision systems allowed TEC to establish a long lasting relationship with the client. Considering the advantages, Meccanotecnica has already shown their intention to adopt similar solutions to optimize the quality of other productive processes.

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