Broadly Distributed Networked Applications of In-Tool Vision Systems for Assembly 2000-01-2710
Earlier papers have described new approaches to in-tool monitoring, based on non-contact sensors mounted right in the assembly weld tools. The current paper describes new approaches to broadly distributed sensor implementation, developed and field tested in the past year. Integration of flexible robot vision based stations into the distributed architecture is described.
Commercially available networking of multiple sensor stations allows connection of information from broadly distributed sensor locations to PC/Windows based centralised data analysis and display units. Networking of information displays, in simple graphical form, allows this same information to be made available on the plant Intranet/Internet so that it is available throughout the enterprise, even through the supplier chain.
Implementation of such systems, including linking of in-tool information, end of line stations, and flexible robotic-based stations on a common network is described. The value of such highly distributed process monitoring is illustrated by several case histories, with examples of the benefits derived by the user. These benefits are contrasted to more traditional final inspection methods, both in-line and off line, for both low and high volume production lines. Benefits of distributed, networked process monitoring are reviewed, including quality improvements, productivity improvements and reduction of scrap and rework.