Machine Vision in Automotive Automation Systems

machine vision in automotive automation systemsMachine vision plays a vital role in the heavily automated automotive sector. A recent report states the overall machine vision market will be worth $14.43 billion by 2022, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.15% between 2016 and 2022. A major driver of the growth, the report states, is the demand for automated inspection and machine vision in the automotive industry.

Machine vision is used in a number of ways throughout the automotive supply chain and is largely responsible for the quality of the end product.

Why is Machine Vision Important in Automotive Manufacturing?

There are two major reasons that machine vision is so important in the automotive industry. First, it provides flexibility in robotic systems. Robots that can’t see, or “blind robots,” are only able to perform the same task repeatedly as long as there are no variations. Vision-guided robots (VGR) can account for variables in applications, such as differing part orientations, enabling applications like random bin picking.

The other reason machine vision is so important is because it is highly accurate for inspection applications. While increased throughput and efficiency of inspection applications are certainly a benefit of machine vision, accuracy is the true benefit of machine vision automation. Every part that goes into a vehicle must fit and function perfectly. Manual inspectors are far less accurate than a smart camera, and any defects in a part can be dangerous for the consumer and costly for the manufacturer.

Machine Vision Application in the Automotive Industry

One example of machine vision inspection that reveals the importance of machine vision, as well as how it is leveraged, is 3D vision inspection of connector pins.

A machine vision inspection system, featuring a Dalsa Genie Nano M1920 camera, is located on an assembly line with the goal of identifying connector pins that are too short – something that was proving difficult for manual inspectors. If a faulty connector pin makes it through the production cycle, it could spell disaster for the vehicle owner and the manufacturer.

The machine vision system inspects the parts as they go by. If they are found to be correct, a material handling system flips them onto their backside, where they are scanned once again. The resulting images create a 3D model where the part can be inspected with extreme accuracy.

This is just one example of how a machine vision system can be used in the automotive sector, but it clearly illustrates the cost savings, accuracy and safety benefits that machine vision provides.

Machine vision plays a vital role in automotive production. As the automotive sector grows and automates, machine vision’s role in production will grow in importance.

Learn more about machine vision in the automotive industry by reading our markets and applications section on Automotive Manufacturing and Assembly Automation.