Product Details Supplier Info More products

A manufacturer of construction and heavy equipment recently commissioned Thyssenkrupp System Engineering to build an engine assembly line for a new plant in the US South West.

In addition to its role as a line builder, Thyssenkrupp had the mandate to provide this factory with a machine-vision solution for the entire engine assembly line.

Acting as the system integrator, Thyssenkrupp supplied the vision, mechanical and electrical systems, Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) connectivity and training of plant staff.

The first steps of the vision solution were developed using six Matrox Iris GT smart cameras.

As an engine moves down the line, it goes through multiple smart camera-based vision inspection stations.

These applications vary from absence/presence to gauging/measurement.

The addition of machine vision to the line came about when the customer expressed concern with the final test machines failing engines due to operator errors during assembly.

Thyssenkrupp presented a camera-based solution similar to what it had developed in the past for other engine builders.

This solution would use vision inspection at the station where the parts were being installed.

Any errors would then be fixed at the assembly station.

Application A uses one Matrox Iris GT smart camera to verify that the crank gear and water pump gear are aligned properly.

The crank gear has a carrot feature and the water pump gear has a painted yellow line.

The yellow line must be pointing at the carrot.

Application B uses four Matrox Iris GTs.

Cameras 1 and 2 both verify the presence and location of eight water seals.

Camera 3 determines the presence and location of a drainback seal, another gasket and eight water seals.

Camera 4 verifies that only a single head gasket is installed.

Application C uses a single Matrox Iris GT to verify that the timing mark (painted line) on the idler gear is between two painted teeth on the crank gear.

The vision system is based on several Matrox Iris GT smart cameras.

The applications were developed with Matrox Design Assistant, an integrated development environment that is bundled with the smart camera.

Matrox Design Assistant is an integrated development environment (IDE) that lets users create machine-vision applications by constructing a flowchart instead of coding programs or scripts using languages such as Visual Basic, C, C++ or C#.

Once development is finished, the project (or flowchart) is uploaded and stored locally on the Matrox Iris GT.

The project is then executed on the smart camera without the need for any companion PC and, in this case, is monitored and controlled from the PLC over an Ethernet link.

A Siemens Human Machine Interface (HMI) panel is located at each assembly station.

It provides the operator with the engine build type, cycle time display and any specific information required at that station.

The HMI also displays the camera image so that the operator can look at the inspection in the event of a failure.

He then identifies the object that failed and takes corrective action.

The network connection is used for communication with the same Siemens PLC that runs the entire assembly line using the TCP/IP protocol.

The camera acts as a server and the PLC is the client.

The camera monitors the connection from the PLC and if the connection terminates, the camera automatically makes the communication port once again available for the PLC to reconnect.

The PLC is also responsible for sending the proper recipes to the camera, depending upon the engine type in station.

In addition to building a flowchart, the IDE lets users directly design a graphical operator interface to the application, which presents the inspected image as well as inspection statistics and controls.

The operator interface displays annotations and pass/fail statistics.

No control was given in the operator interface that would allow changes to be made to the project.

A number of Design Assistant tools or flowchart steps were used.

Design Assistant’s subflowchart feature allows the inspection logic to be neatly separated from the communication and data-logging logic.

This helped simplify the design process and will facilitate future maintenance.

Subflowcharts allow for a common programming architecture between cameras with the main program and custom subflowcharts for different program numbers/complexity.

The subflowcharts contain only vision tools, which make it easy to troubleshoot when complex modifications are required.

Matrox Imaging, a leading developer of component-level solutions, is recognized for providing OEMs and integrators in the manufacturing, medical diagnostic and security industries with innovative yet cost-effective solutions.

Components include cameras, interface boards and processing platforms, all designed to provide optimum price-performance within a common software environment

Specifically designed to decrease development time and costs, Matrox Imaging technology is used by industry leaders in factory automation, process control, electronics and pharmaceutical packaging, semiconductor inspection, robotics, radiology, microscopy, and video surveillance. We ensure that customers stay with us over multiple product generations by consistently meeting their demands for cutting-edge technology, technical consulting services, integration assistance and the highest manufacturing standards.

A world player in imaging, Matrox has offices in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Germany, and sales representatives in more than 20 countries. Our proven track record assures customers that we will meet their needs for performance, value and service, now and in the future.

View full profile