Archive: Dec 2023

Understanding Vision Inspection Systems

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Vision Measuring

Vision inspection systems incorporate automation, cameras, and sensors to speedily and reliably assist with process monitoring and product inspections in various applications. By integrating such systems into your production and assembly lines, it’s easier to ensure and maintain quality across your operation.

What Are Vision Inspection Systems?

Vision inspection systems rely on a combination of cutting-edge software, and vision systems to inspect goods during processing and production. They incorporate visual inspection automation technology and sometimes robotics to enhance tracking capabilities and quality assurance.

These systems have widespread applications, including but not limited to:

  • All-in-one smart cameras
  • 3D scanning
  • High-speed controllers for 2D, 3D, and line scan camera systems
  • AI- and rule-based vision tools
  • Vision-guided robots
  • Lighting, lenses, and peripheral systems for basic optimal image generation
  • Barcode reading
  • Standard and laser microscopes
  • Safety laser controllers and scanners
  • Photoelectric, laser, and fiber optic sensors
  • Measurement sensors
  • Product and part marking and coding

As manufacturing and assembly operations become increasingly complex, dependable vision system inspections are becoming essential to effectively monitor and evaluate quality, trace and serialize products, and more.

Pros and Cons of Vision Inspection Systems

Vision inspection systems come with benefits and disadvantages, outlined below to help you determine if these systems are right for your application and operation.

Pros

Some of the advantages of using vision inspection systems include:

  • Optimized Efficiency: Automated inspections increase efficiency by replacing manual processes, allowing for faster inspections that still reliably ensure high-quality output throughout the production process.
  • Minimized Risk of Human Error: For successful manual inspection processes, a trained professional or team must perform the evaluations repeatedly, with an increased chance of missing damaged or flawed products as compared to cameras and sensors. Automated vision inspection systems optimize consistency and accuracy with minimal human intervention, maintaining better quality and keeping customers happy with defect-free products.
  • Cost Savings: Using camera systems for early defect detection will all but eliminate the need for later product rework and help prevent potential recalls. As a result, you benefit from considerable cost reductions in labor and materials over time, all while protecting your brand’s reputation.
  • Process Versatility: It’s easy to repurpose vision inspection systems for different applications and products, allowing for maximum versatility across your production or assembly line.
  • Increased Precision: Using advanced vision systems can allow stations to automatically perform critical measurements down to +/- 0.025mm, inspect for perpendicularity using coaxial lights and other inspections that a human just can perform.

Cons

While vision inspection systems offer numerous benefits, they also come with certain downsides to consider, such as:

  • Higher Upfront Costs: A vision system for quality inspections may result in lower long-term costs, but their initial costs tend to be considerably higher than those of a standard sensor. While such sensors can cost between $1,000 to $1,500 on average, expect to pay several thousand dollars or even tens of thousands for a full vision inspection system solution.
  • Need for Specialized Knowledge: The complexity of these systems makes them harder to install and maintain, requiring experts to carry out system integrations and repairs. This, too, can result in higher costs. Gaining an in-depth understanding of the breadth of the system’s capabilities can also be challenging. New technologies have lowered the requirements for specialized knowledge as programs have become more user friendly.
  • Potential Technical Issues: Environmental elements like dust or related debris, inadequate lighting, or even inconsistent conditions within your facility can negatively impact sensors, reducing inspection accuracy.
  • Incompatibility with Non-Reflective Product Surfaces: Sensors and cameras may have a difficult time measuring plastic parts or components with opaque or black coloring due to the lack of light reflectivity on their surfaces.
  • Difficulty Selecting Equipment: There are many brands out there to choose from, which can make it difficult to find the right solution for your unique application. Also, some camera brands will sometimes try to upsell their latest products which can lead to applications that use much more expensive equipment than needed.

Vision Inspection Systems From AMD

For high-quality vision inspection systems, Advanced Manufacturing Development (AMD) has the expertise and resources necessary to design and implement customized systems that maximize quality throughout your production line. We integrate state-of-the-art testing technology in our systems, including precision cameras and sensors that enable comprehensive quality inspections for virtually every process and part.

Our automated testing stations and systems will first identify the presence of each part. Then, in addition to checking for flaws or defective components, you can also use these systems to monitor for proper part orientation, color, and surface finish; confirm proper assembly; and accurately evaluate component form and dimensions. Using these vision solutions, you can measure the amount of glue, lubricants, sealants, and other such substances applied to a part, as well.

Let AMD Create a Vision Inspection System for Your Needs

Looking to implement a high-performance vision inspection system? AMD is here to help. We specialize in high-quality, custom automation solutions, including vision inspection systems that incorporate state-of-the-art technology. To learn more about our offerings and capabilities, contact us today, or begin your next project by requesting a quote.

Role of Leak Testing in Automotive Component Assembly

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Leak testing is a key quality control measure that ensures parts and assemblies meet their operational requirements. In the automotive sector, it verifies the safety and reliability of components and their production processes. Automotive component performance is critical, and vehicle manufacturers must choose suitable leak-testing methods to avoid safety issues, product recalls, warranty claims, and customer complaints.

What Is Leak Testing?

Leak testing is the quality control process that checks for liquid or gas leaks in manufactured parts. It’s a non-destructive testing method, as the tests won’t damage or alter the object under inspection. Leak testing encompasses various detection methods, giving you multiple options to choose from depending on the specific component or assembly you’re evaluating.

Also, the testing process ensures more than just product quality. By checking for leaks during production, you can also identify and address any problems within the manufacturing process itself that might be leading to quality issues. The testing process helps improve production efficiency and reliability, leads to quality end products, and reduces waste and rework.

Why Leak Testing Is Critical for Automotive Component Manufacturing and Assembly

The automotive sector is among the primary industries that rely on leak testing. Vehicles are made up of complex systems containing different types of fluids, some under pressure, that are very close to components that can be damaged if even a very small leak is present. EVs in particular require strict testing requirements as they have components like batteries and motors that can pose a danger to passengers if damaged.

Leaks within a single part affect the performance and safety of vehicles. At best, leaking parts will significantly impact the performance of your vehicle, reduce fuel efficiency, and increase emissions. At worst, a leaky component can prove disastrous, resulting in complete system shutdown, battery fires, and hazardous situations for drivers.

Differences Between EV and Internal Combustion Engine Leak Testing

EV designs don’t include a number of the components that vehicles with internal combustion engines have, like fuel lines and injection systems. In EVs, your focus for leak detection is on break fluids, water tanks, and AC fluids as such leaks will lead to damage in EV batteries.

Manufacturers will sometimes test their components to three times their maximum rated pressure to ensure nothing has the possibility to leak under even the most demanding operating conditions. Using tested, high-quality parts helps prevent short circuits as well as car fires and explosions, as EVs are extremely sensitive to leaks compared to internal combustion engine systems.

What Auto Components Require Leak Testing?

To ensure leak-tight parts and system or assembly connections, automakers employ leak testing for the following:

  • Chassis and Powertrains: This automotive component category encompasses anything from transmission systems and engine blocks to wheels and drive axles. It also covers powertrain oil and water circuits, as well as electrical components like vehicle lights and electronic control components.
  • Safety Components: Parts like airbag ignitors, brake lines, and fluid reservoirs all require leak testing to ensure optimal safety in a vehicle’s performance.
  • Cooling Devices: Heat exchangers, radiators, AC hoses, condensers, and compressors should all undergo leak testing to ensure proper functionality.
  • Batteries: A lithium-ion battery is an example of an EV component that benefits from leak testing.
  • Fuel Systems: Systems like injection systems and fuel vapor management systems should receive leak testing, as should components like fuel lines, filters, pumps, and tanks.
  • Completed Assemblies: In addition to the above systems and components, some final circuits that require leak testing include engine water and e-battery cooling circuits.

Other components that benefit from leak testing include but are not limited to water tanks, internal combustion motor parts, shock absorbers, headlights, and other automotive parts exposed to rain and humidity.

What Leak Test Methods Are Common in Automotive Component Assembly?

Different testing techniques are available to accommodate the wide array of components that require testing. They determine if a component has a leak and if its seal will hold at a predetermined pressure level. Some common leak test methods include:

  • Helium Leak Test: This highly accurate test pressurizes a component with helium, which acts as the tracer gas, and then a sniffer probe scans for leaks. It’s effective at finding even small leakages.
  • Pressure Decay Leak Detection: In the open air, pressure decay testing seals a component’s openings prior to pressurizing it inside. After stabilizing, you then monitor the internal pressure to detect decay.
  • Vacuum Decay Leak Detection: Alternatively, a vacuum decay test monitors for pressure buildup occurring after lowering pressure levels and introducing a test medium.
  • Flow Test: By bringing the air within the tested volume to constant pressure, you can identify that there’s a leak in a part should you need to add additional air to maintain pressure.
  • Ultrasonic Testing: This inspection technique utilizes sound waves to indicate that a leak exists as well as pinpoint its location

Automated Leak Testing Solutions From AMD

Leaks, no matter how small, can significantly affect the reliability, effectiveness, and safety of an automotive component. At Advanced Manufacturing Development (AMD), we offer a range of automotive testing solutions. Based on your specific application, our team will assist you in selecting the optimal automated testing station and equipment as well as the right testing technique to assure optimal performance and quality in your products. Contact our team for more information, or request a quote today.