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Precision 3D robotic inspection makes QC ten times faster

31 July, 2020

ABB has developed a 3D quality inspection robot cell that can spot defects that are less than half as wide as a human hair and imperceptible to the naked eye. It says that 3DQI cell will accelerate production dramatically by providing fast, accurate testing that simplifies metrology and saves time.

The cell – capable of accuracies better than 100μm – eliminates the need for time-consuming manual inspections, while reducing the likelihood of faults and errors. As well as boosting productivity, it can also cut costs by reducing the risk of product defects that could lead to recalls.

The sensor, which can be attached to any robot with a handling capacity of 20kg or higher, is aimed at offline testing stations. Its modular design allows installations to be customised or expanded. It uses a single 3D white light optical sensor to scan millions of 3D points per shot, creating a detailed digital model of the part being inspected, which can be compared with a CAD drawing of the part. According to ABB, this can be done ten times faster than using traditional CMMs (coordinate measuring machines).

“The ability to accurately measure and control quality is vital to ensure that products achieve consistency, comply with standards, and meet customer expectations,” says Tanja Vainio, managing director of ABB Robotics’ automotive tier one business. “Traditional testing methods are slow and often capture the potential quality mistakes too late in the process.

ABB says that its robotic inspection system will accelerate production, enhance quality and productivity, and cut waste.

“Our 3DQI cell automates this process, far exceeding the capabilities of traditional inspection in speed, accuracy and repeatability,” she adds. “We’ve developed and piloted our 3DQI technology in automotive applications – including with the automotive supplier, Benteler – and the 3DQI solution has been proven to improve product quality, throughput and safety, while freeing up skilled labour to be deployed on other tasks.”

The system can perform data analysis in real time. It creates digital records that support traceability, which is needed in several industries, as well as allowing users to adapt their processes to prevent further failures, and to improve quality and productivity.

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