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A unique multi-camera quality control technology

Mapvision provides a flexible, 100% in-line inspection system for welding lines. 100% inspection of 100% of features prevents bad parts from being shipped and provides complete online data on part geometry for adjusting a production process. Production can be ramped up very quickly thanks to the complete measurement data that the Mapvision Quality Gate system provides during pre-production.

Continually growing cost constraints, together with the stream of new production technologies being developed, are changing the face of today’s automotive industry. Automated assembly is placing higher demands on the quality of parts, and quality management teams are steadily extending the scope of their efforts in their quest to reduce defect-related costs.

All of these developments are putting increasing pressure on quality control systems, and the mechanical and optical sensors that have traditionally been used to inspect the dimensions of components are struggling to keep pace. The capabilities of the Mapvision Quality Gate, in contrast, bring a new level of understanding to the production process and enable manufacturers not only to identify exactly when problems occur, but also where and, in many cases, why as well.

Mapvision’s worldwide network currently serves customers in more than 10 countries and the number of systems being delivered is steadily increasing. Current customers include premium marques such as BMW and Daimler, as well as leading Tier 1 subcontractors, such as Magna, PWO, and Gestamp. As of the end of 2012, more than 40 systems had been installed.

The 100% x 100% coverage offered by the Mapvision Quality Gate (seen here behind the car body) ensures that no defective products are delivered to the end-customer and enables plants to react very rapidly if a defect occurs, reducing downtime and minimising scrap and rework costs. Photo: Courtesy of Valmet Automotive.

"Mapvision 100% x 100%: a true paradigm 
change in quality control."

A combination of expertise

Mapvision’s technology is based on a combination of expertise in machine vision, photogrammetry, and 3D CAD – and has been custom-designed for automatically inspecting welded components directly on a welding line. Featuring a unique, multi-camera approach, it enables everything from cross beams and sub-frames to car body modules and entire car bodies to be measured and inspected completely within a line’s cycle time.

A Mapvision Quality Gate checks the dimensions of all the parts being assembled to ensure that everything is where it should be and only greenlights good parts. Rejected parts are returned for reworking, using the detailed information that has been collected on the fault, before being submitted for a re-check at the Quality Gate.

The Mapvision Quality Gate can handle a full range of measurements and visual checks with one and the same system, feeding its results to a production system in a matter of seconds.
The inspection results and statistics generated by a Mapvision Quality Gate are evaluated with the system’s Mapvision Result Viewer, an intuitive, powerful, and easy-to-use software package designed to give users a clear understanding of how their production process is performing.

Parts or products that have already been delivered can also be re-inspected using measurement data stored in the system’s database and the Mapvision History Inspector, eliminating the need for expensive recalls or post-inspection campaigns.

Historical data can also be used to identify dimensions that have varied from the nominal figure in areas where the original product specifications lacked critical tolerances for every aspect of a design.

Industry-leading performance

In practical terms, a Mapvision Quality Gate inspection environment consists of a cabinet fitted with numerous digital machine vision cameras and LED lights on its walls, floor, and ceiling. Items to be inspected are fed from a line to the system, which collects the image data, analyses it, and then stores it, tripping any alarms if a defect is detected.

The unique RAIC™ multi-camera technology used provides significant advantages and enables a Mapvision Quality Gate to measure and inspect different products and variants in one and the same system. The system also continuously monitors its calibration status and the quality of the measurement results it produces.

Mapvision’s technology enables hundreds of features to be inspected within a line’s cycle time, which is typically between 30 seconds and a minute in a mass production environment, without any compromises in terms of quality control. All the features of all the parts passing along a line can be inspected, and the same system can also perform automatic visual controls, such as checking that assembled components are installed correctly – something that has not been possible before with traditional technology.

Two Mapvision Quality Gate ranges are currently available – the 6200 and the 4200 (shown here) – for inspecting entire bodies and modules and components respectively.
> Lasse Paakkola
(Published in HighTech Finland 2013)