Modern car engines need strong batteries. Highly efficient start-stop technologies must be supplied with maximum voltage in milliseconds. Austrian company Banner GmbH relies on powerful solutions from Schmachtl GmbH of Linz guarantee the highest quality by using Cognex vision technology.
Wherever high volumes and first-rate performance are required in industrial production, visual quality control plays a key role. In its most modern finishing plant, Banner GmbH of Austria, produces up to 3,000 absorbent glass mat (AGM) car batteries per day. The AGM technology binds the normally fluid electrolyte in a fiberglass fleece. Its low internal resistance offers exceptionally high starting currents. The latest generation of high-tech batteries, preferably installed in start-stop engines with brake energy recovery, ensures optimized CO2 emissions.
One of the key processes at Banner’s AGM finishing plant is the visual final inspection with VisionPro® vision software from Cognex. Based on its performance tools, the image processing software OBI (Optical Battery Inspection) from Schmachtl GmbH coordinates the data from six industrial cameras and one Cognex DataMan® barcode reader. This process also guarantees that the right product reaches the customer at top quality. This innovative project provided Banner with quick cost savings with 100% inspection and zero error tolerance.
Caps, grips, and correct dimensions
The OBI system inspects the batteries from five sides. VisionPro software is able to inspect a variety of battery characteristics across varying substrates. The system verifies the position and completeness of the labels, various battery dimensions, the presence of pole caps and grips, and verifies the dimensions of the vents are correct.
If a characteristic exceeds the product-specific tolerances, the battery in question is removed and the error is displayed on a screen. The operator then has the opportunity to check the product again after correcting the defect via the return belt.
Data retrievable at any time
One of the most important inspection steps is the reading of a text label pinned directly onto the plastic housing. It contains information about the battery type, manufacturing date, and performance. At the end of production, the information is transferred to a Data Matrix code on a label and placed on the battery to ensure the complete traceability of the products.
The challenging Data Matrix codes on the plastic housing often have poor contrast and reflections on the glossy labels complicate the decoding process. The image-based DataMan barcode reader, however, is able to meet this challenge by combining excellent read performance with ease of use. In addition, a small, robust housing contains the lighting, the camera, the processor, and USB and RS-232 interfaces.
More peace of mind for OEMs
Because the image processing software does not require any time-consuming preprocessing of the image, the application development for the vision engineer is accelerated and the life cycle costs for the company are reduced. Especially in the manufacturing of OEM products for the automotive industry, Cognex VisionPro is regarded as the gold standard. When the highest quality standards rely on complete product traceability, as in the case of Banner GmbH, VisionPro offers permanent peace of mind.