Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Intelligent systems for zero-defect products

Forming processes such as sheet metal punching and deep drawing are rather non-stable manufacturing processes. Minor changes in production parameters or material quality and machinery functioning can offset stability and produce bad parts.
Intelligent systems for zero-defect products
Problems arising in the manufacture of small size parts in large quantities using high speed and production rate equipment are particularly difficult to detect. This often results in the ongoing production of bad parts until a statistical control detects the 'malfunction' and stops the machine.

The 'On-line control of drawing and blanking processes and of quality of the product by fusion of sensors and artificial vision techniques' (Pro2control) project set out to develop a complete control system that could ensure a zero-defect result in forming industries involved in the manufacture of small- size work parts. The EU-funded project aimed to achieve complete diagnosis and control over production quality and state of goods produced.

Two complementary methods were considered to achieve project objectives. The first was Acoustic acoustic Emission emission (AE) use and load measurement technologies, and the second was an Artificial artificial Vision vision (AV) system. The latter comprises a set of cameras and a flexible image processing system for detecting defects in real time.

Project partners first worked to increase the efficiency of production facilities through the detection of instabilities in blanking and drawing processes, using force and AE sensors. Two monitoring systems were installed in two industry-related enterprises with positive results.

Team members then concentrated on the on-line detection of defective parts at the two forming facilities. AV techniques were used to reduce the internal production of defective parts and to guard against sending out defective goods to customers. An AV system with two intelligent cameras was developed and integrated at one of the companies, a blanking facility. The system proved effective in checking the quality of over 100 parts per minute and therefore analysing 100 % of the produced parts.

Pro2control developed an expert system in a graphical user interface that gives feedback to the forming facility via human operators who check the system's diagnoses. The integration of all the developed system was successfully realised at the blanking facility and final validation made performed during the manufacturing of specific goods.

An intelligent control system based on artificial intelligent techniques was developed and linked to a sensor-based monitoring system as well as an AV system. Emulating the control of human operators, the intelligent control system can react faster and with higher precision and reliability.

Results of implemented systems at the blanking facility showed a 20 % reduction in production of defective parts and achieved reduction in the percentage of faulty parts sent to the customer, thanks to 100 % system evaluation of produced parts. Implementation of the expert system also accomplished decreased reaction times to resolving problems of machine stopping, which also translates to costs savings.

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