Proper application of fluid to substrate is critical to the quality and safety of products ranging from apparel to automobiles to electronics. And while automated fluid application systems are widely adopted for their ability to increase productivity and safety, quality control – inspection of the size, location, and path of the fluid – is still often done manually. But manual inspection can be inconsistent and lead to missed quality issues or false rejections. And while off-line, automated inspection systems exist, these require additional steps in the workflow to move products from the production line to the inspection area, significantly adding to process time and introducing new sources of potential errors and damage.
Quality inspection: From offline to real-time
One of Designetics customers struggled with just this issue. Their process involved applying fluid to automotive glass and then sending the part to a secondary quality control area where a camera-based vision system was used to inspect the part and ensure the fluid application met the specified dimensions, location, and path.
The extra processing steps reduced productivity and introduced the possibility of damaging the product due to the additional handling. And camera-based inspection systems are easily influenced by ambient light and other environmental factors, causing “false failures” that lead to unnecessary scrap and costs.
Looking for a way to achieve real-time inspection that could be integrated into their standard production flow – without additional steps and handling – the customer turned to Designetics, the leader in fluid application systems.
Designetics introduced the customer to our Ce360 quality inspection path scanner. This automated inspection system combines inspection technology from our partner, Coherix, with a Designetics automated fluid application system. The inspection system is mounted to Designetics Precision Air Compliance via a floating feature, for seamless integration with the fluid application system.
Rather than using cameras and vision, the Ce360 uses four high-speed laser sensors that can track and inspect the fluid application in any direction without blind corners – at an industry-leading acquisition speed of 1600 samples per second. And with the Ce360, the customer doesn’t just receive a “go/no-go” signal as they would with a traditional inspection system. The Ce360 allows the customer to specify both a width tolerance for the fluid application path and “marginal failure” point where the scan passes the inspection but triggers an alert for the operator. This allows the operator to monitor the life of the applicator and take action in case preventive maintenance is required – before a problem arises.
With the combination of Designetics automated fluid application system and our Ce360 quality inspection path scanner, the customer’s system now controls the entire process – from retrieving the applicator and applying the fluid to conducting the quality inspection and providing data to the operator. The real-time inspection provided by the Ce360 allowed the customer to increase throughput, and the customer is now assured that the inspection is completely objective, with no “false failures.”
If you’re ready to take the next step in your automated fluid application process, or if you just want to learn more about the Ce360 quality inspection path scanner, give us a call. We’re committed to helping you achieve the highest level of accuracy and quality in your fluid application process.