Complex mechanical parts ( like engine crankshafts, turbine axes, precision shafts or bearings), later attached to complex machines (trucks, ships, aircrafts, cars, power generation turbines, ...), are produced following a step by step process that usually, and depending on the piece complexity, lasts for hours. Critical aspects of this process are: presence of surface defects due to fails during machining process, irregularities in external dimensions due to malfunction of machining cells, excess of surface roughness due to fail in surface treatment processes, high response time when correcting process parameters what produces great scraps, practical impossibility to follow parts during their useful life.
SMARTMEC pursuits a full quality assessment system, combining: new NDT techniques appliance, feasible on line production process assessment, and wide range/long term individual parts tracking that makes feasible quality assurance, applicable to a huge number of mechanical parts manufacturers, with low investment and maintenance cost, flexibility, and integral in quality control demands, in order to assure 100% full automated inspection and on line process control.
SMARTMEC is a problem oriented research project. Rather than developing a set of solutions and then looking for the problems they can solve, we plan to invest considerable effort in analysing and understanding the existing problems of industrial quality assessment systems. Only afterwards we will look for the appropriate solutions, evaluate their feasibility, and, finally, apply the solutions to real, full size problems. This approach will ensure the relevance, applicability and scaleability of SMARTMEC results.
The technical activities to be undertaken include:
* Development of a new high precision/high speed contactless measurement system, specially regarding precision (1mm) and standoff, with on line requirements.
* Development of a CAD based Visual Inspection System with new image processing algorithms with powerful feature extraction capabilities for on line achievement.
* Development of an hybrid classification system for on line defect categorization.
* Development of a reliable on line process assessment facility, by combining Artificial Intelligence techniques and processing techniques (database systems, expert systems, procedural algorithms, ...). * Development of an intelligent system for management of historical process and parts information for maintenance and repair tasks. * Development of feed back links from parts' behaviour under working conditions to production assessment, for process improvement by means of materials selection, procedures modification, etc.
The adoption of the open philosophy system proposed, will mainly provide the following competitive advantages: low investment cost, fully automated system, high processing speed, standard high quality of the final products, that will help to competitiveness improvement of European mechanical parts manufacturers (automotive industry, power generation sector, aircraft manufacturers, etc.) in front of the American, Japanese and Asiatic competitors.
A project consortium has been assembled which is ideally suited to undertake the SMARTMEC project itself as well as ensuring the successful follow on exploitation of the work carried out. The consortium includes 2 all Europe established and experienced end users (RENAULT Vl and IVECO FIAT) with requirements representative of different production methods. 3 industrial research and development centers ( 2 SMEs) (ISOTEST, CEO Consortium and ICAP), who between them offer experience and expertise which covers the diverse technologies involved in quality assurance systems. A research center at the University (Univ. Politecnica de Madrid) with expertise in automated visual inspection and able to perform a wide dissemination of research results. A high quality mechanical systems developer and supplier (ENWESA). An established SME developer and supplier of NDT systems (STEINBICHLER) and an active technology consulting enterprise (IAPETOS), that will support the exploitation strategy of the consortium.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts