Virtual commissioning of quality gates
For the commissioning of optical quality inspection gates by means of camera systems in combination with inspection robots, real workpieces were necessary in the past for setting up the robot positions, camera parameters and inspection characteristics. This circumstance has the consequence that for the assessment of the testability and the subsequent commissioning can be carried out with the first existing workpiece and workpiece carrier at the earliest.
By using the new virtual commissioning techniques of VisionTools, now is it possible to check and determine the visibility and accessibility of the features already during the project planning of an optical end-of-line inspection with one or more cobots. In this way, the position of the inspection robots can also be optimised in order to achieve the best possible inspection capability. In the following steps, the driving programme of the robots is also optimised in terms of path and movement sequence and the inspection cycle is evaluated in terms of time. For this purpose, a digital twin of the inspection station and the workpieces is first simulated using a CAD environment. Often, workpieces are already designed in 3D by the customer and are then already available in a 3D data format anyway. Through extensive import interfaces, the machine environment, workpiece, but also robots and cameras can then very easily be merged and kinematised into a digital twin. By simulating the camera and lighting, virtual camera images are obtained through synthetic image generation. Based on these, the visibility and testability of the selected test positions can be verified and assessed already during the project planning of the system. Inspection positions created in this way can then be imported automatically from the virtual environment into VisionTools V60 inspection programme. The positions can now be approached collision-free in the real plant environment and the characteristics taught in.
The additional effort due to the additional project planning is unfortunately only partially compensated for by the efficient project handling, but the quality of the inspection system increases considerably. This is because possible planning errors can be detected early in the project before the actual commissioning and can be eliminated cost-effectively. The commissioning time on site of a virtually pre-commissioned plant is significantly reduced, and extensive working hours and travel costs are saved.
However, the greatest advantages of a digital twin and the virtual commissioning that is possible with it essentially come into play in the further life cycle of the plant during the subsequent integration of additional inspection features or new variants. Here, the testability of the characteristics and possible integration can be simulated in advance, and the inspection programmes can be set up and tested offline in the virtual environment.
The virtual commissioning of the characteristics is still being worked on. The foundation stone and initial successes have been achieved with the completion of the ROB-LPI project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. These are being tested and further developed together with customers in representative plants.
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