Every manufacturer constantly seeks ways to increase productivity while simultaneously decreasing defect rates — which is not an easy task.
Using highly advanced machine vision technology, however, is one way to accomplish the feat. Engineering Specialties, Inc. (ESI) has integrated this technology into an automated assembly process that allows us to quickly manufacture, assemble and inspect large volume assemblies with virtually zero defects.
Assembling 2 Million+ Parts per Year with Zero Defects: How it Works
For one customer, ESI was asked to manufacture a Torx screw assembly for a Jeep Wrangler. This assembly — a Torx screw with green silicone seal — is used to make the airbag control systems of the vehicle both secure and perfectly water-tight. If an airbag control system is exposed to moisture, it could fail with terrible consequences.
To manufacture this crucial assembly, we custom designed and built an automated, seven-station rotary table machine — what we called the Green Seal Machine.
Green seals are fed from a hopper to a vibratory bowl and in turn to a free space on the Green Seal Machine’s rotating table.
A Torx screw, also fed from a hopper and vibratory bowl, is robotically partially inserted into the seal while a compressed air gun clears the work pieces of debris and other contaminants.
Station 3 — First Inspection Station
Linear slides position the partial screw/seal assembly into the view of the vision inspection equipment’s first high resolution camera. The assembly is spun so that 400° around the assembly is inspected by the camera. Highly accurate and specialized software analyzes the images.
The Torx screw is fully inserted into the green silicone seal.
Station 5 — Second Inspection Station
The completed assembly is camera-inspected from the top to ensure that the insertion resulted in a full, perfect seal. This station also measures the OD of the seal and ensures presence of the Torx drive.
Any seal-screw assemblies that the vision inspection equipment deemed to be defective, at either Station 3 or Station 5, are rejected.
Assemblies that pass both inspections are accepted, then deposited at the last station to be processed for shipping.