A demanding market place needs the right vision systems for quality inspection
Meccancotecnica Umbra manufactures seals for pumps for the circulation of the anti-freeze liquid in combustion motors. The production cycle runs at about three turns per every eight hours. The automotive sector is a demanding one. Parts destined for the marketplace need to be 100% without defect and capable of standing up to difficult working environments. Meccanotecnica Umbra realised that they needed a reliable and confirmed quality control solution for the inspection of their parts while in the production phase. After trying various vision suppliers they finally found the solution they needed in the In-Sight® 5000 vision system from Cognex.
The search for the right vision solution
In the automotive sector every component must be capable of withstanding difficult environmental conditions (vibrations, variations in temperature, wind, rain, etc.) Generally different types of pump are used which need to support about 3 bars worth of pressure in order to guarantee the perfect workings of the entire vehicle. So, it makes sense that manufacturers would seek a top of the range quality inspection before the pieces leave the factory floor. Meccancotecnica Umbra decided to use a vision system in order to satisfy the demanding standards of quality required by the market.
Having chosen a particular vision company they started testing vision systems. After an initial testing phase it was necessary to admit that for various reasons including system limitations and a lack of support from the supplier led to it never getting past the testing phase. The quality inspection of the production cycle was thus continued manually by personnel with all of the limitations this kind of manual inspection can imply.
In-Sight 5400 for the inspection of automotive components
Luckily, soon after, technical experts at Meccancotecnica participated in a Cognex vision seminar and afterward explained their requirements to Cognex asking for a feasibility study for a potential project for quality inspection to check each product passing through their production lines. The solution was developed by TEC, a partner system integrator (PSI) of Cognex for central Italy. The PSI network is specially selected and trained by Cognex to deliver turnkey solutions for vision and identification applications. They proposed they use the In-Sight 5400 from Cognex as well as two Cognex In-Sight 5401 readers.
Every seal; depending on the type and the dimension, is made up of nine components of a different nature such as carbon, steel springs, silicon, etc. which are then mechanically assembled on an automated line. After the assembly phase, before the pieces are sent to be stacked for distribution, they are sent to three different inspection stations.
A 360° inspection in just a few seconds
At the first inspection station, an In-Sight 5400, takes 24 snapshots of each fully rotating piece in only two seconds in order to verify the external profile of the seal in a complete 360° inspection.
The second inspection post continues the inspection of the still rotating piece using ten snapshots learned by the camera checking the surfaces of the various parts that make up the seal and verifying their functional aspects.
The third station performs two inspections on the seal which is no longer rotating. In the first, the internal part of the same seal is inspected in about 250 milliseconds and in the second, it is checked whether the product is properly stamped with the model number, the lot number, the company logo and the production date. This is done in less then 600 milliseconds.
Quickly installed and easy to use
The application was developed and installed by TEC in record time; in only 20 days it had been confirmed that the system was capable of working correctly on the prototypes. The installation in the factory was done within a week plus the time it took for the training of the personnel in the use and maintenance of the entire system.
In-Sight readers for optimal production inspection
The reliability of the In-Sight vision systems, their capacity to adapt to the varying environmental conditions as well as the powerful vision tools available for Cognex vision systems allowed TEC to establish a long lasting relationship with the client. Considering the advantages, Meccanotecnica has already shown their intention to adopt similar solutions to optimise the quality of other productive processes.
Meccanotecnica Umbra was founded in 1966 and in October 1992 took the legal form of a joint stock company. Since its conception, its production has been based almost exclusively on the manufacture of mechanical face seals for electro-pumps, initially for home appliances and for diverse and light industrial appliances. A few years later, MTU entered into the automotive field, manufacturing seals for pumps for the circulation of the anti-freeze liquid in combustion motors. The development of the company over time has been characterized by the continuous growth of its production and exports. For several years, the percentage of exports has been around 40% of total revenues, distributed throughout 50 countries, where high-level competitive recognition was attained for the products in an increasingly global market.