By Ashley Belliveau
Inspections are crucial to ensure quality products, yet the need for accurate and reliable inspections can often create bottlenecks in the manufacturing process. Compared to manual methods, automated robots are proven to increase speed and accuracy for manufacturers, and can present parts to inspection stations in unique and precise ways that otherwise could not be achieved manually.
One of the main advantages of robotic inspection is that it creates a highly repeatable process. This means that, when programmed correctly, work cells can perform the exact inspection or scan on every component, part, or product that a robot presents. This level of consistency ensures more accurate verification in manufacturing processes. By ensuring greater accuracy, robotic inspection systems can eliminate or reduce bottlenecks to not only improve speed and time-to-market, but also increase production output within cycle times.
In some of today’s sophisticated automated machinery, the experts at Steven Douglas Corp. (SDC) have integrated robotic inspection systems to perform more complex tasks than ever before. Depending on the part and/or application, certain technologies are required for different inspection tasks. Below, we briefly explain some of the capabilities and uses of robotic inspection systems.
Robotic inspection systems can sort, pick, and place components or parts from a bin, pallet, or moving conveyor based on physical characteristics, such as grading material, color, size, shape, and more. If parts do not pass the inspection test (for example, if the part was not the correct part number for the sequence and/or the part was damaged), the inspection robot will reject the “failed part” before it can progress any further within the operation.
When combined with a vision inspection system, robots offer human-like dexterity, while providing greater accuracy, speed, and precision within assembly systems. SDC has successfully implemented robotic inspection systems on many assembly projects, some of which involve:
- Automatically adjusting the position of parts in assemblies
- Manipulating components using logic derived from vision
- Monitoring torque when driving a bolt, or force while pressing components, to verify that the assembly was completed correctly
- Detecting leaks and ensuring correct pressure and flow for products that are welded or assembled with seals
- Assembling parts together by placing one part inside the other in tight-fitting holes and shapes
Measurement systems, such as precision laser sensors, touch probes, and gauges, can provide micron-level accuracy when calculating the length, width, and/or dimension of a part or product. For example, SDC recently used a FANUC robot to pick up and present a very large, heavy sheet of fiberglass to an inspection station. The robot was able to move the part around the inspection easily, so the vision system could take multiple measurement readings at a variety of different points on the sheet.
Experts in Robotic Inspection Technology
With SDC’s years of experience in product inspection and testing, our strengths in machine vision, control systems, and robotics enable us to deliver custom equipment designed to meet your high quality standards. Whether you need to incrementally track progress on an assembly machine or you require an entire system dedicated to one specific critical test, we can design and build custom, automated robotic inspection machines and systems to ensure your product passes the test before it ships.