The main development areas are listed below:
- Development of an intelligent in-process quality assurance system for the finished products
- Design and development of a complete in-process monitoring system for feed-back control for all critical stages in the manufacturing process
Development of new mechanical handling and transport equipment responsive to automatic, in-process monitoring and quality control
- Computer Aided Design (CAD) link to tile decoration and final QA
The quality assurance (QA) system is a hybrid vision system for surface characterisation of ceramic tiles. Major developments were in the areas of:
- Vision algorithms and expert analysis of product quality characteristics
- Hardware with minimum data bandwidth of 3.5 GB per second
- Optical instruments for 3D surface fault detection and surface planarity
The proposal describes the design, development, and pilot implementation of an integrated and fully automatic process and product quality control manufacturing system for the traditional ceramic tile industry, to achieve minimal and totally recycleable waste. The systems exploit recent advances in sensor technology, fast parallel computer architectures and optimal quality control techniques accomplished by integrating CAD data directly to adaptive hybrid vision-based sensors and to process controls. These will be integrated in existing production environments to improve productivity, product quality and process control and reduce waste.
The system will provide parameter control at full production rate, detecting faults at the critical production stages. Classification of defects will be by level of severity and by type. Acceptability will be user-defined. The system will be able to classify the products according to learned parameters. Quality assurance and process control is currently labour intensive. In view of the demographic changes, in less than 5 years manufacturers will able faced with an acute shortage of appropriate work force. Intelligent autmation will provide a viable alternative.
A pilot system will be designed and installed within the end-user industry, to be evaluated for rapid prototyping and economic production for small batches of a very large number of products variants.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
ST6 4JX Stoke-on-trent
41040 Spezzano Di Fiorano
CB2 3QG Cambridge