The 3D Revolution in Automotive Manufacturing

Automotive companies see their designs in three dimensions (3D) by using Computer Aided Design (CAD) tools. The CAD models represent the “as designed” part.

When manufacturing these same products, most of these companies still rely on obsolete two-dimensional (2D) systems to monitor the manufacturing process and detect quality issues, with limited success. These companies have found it much more useful to see the “as built” part in 3D.  Over the past few months, Robust3D™ machine vision platforms have become available, enabling auto manufacturers to see their manufacturing process performance and in-line error proofing process in real time 3D with much greater accuracy and reliability than anything that was previously available.

To meet government fuel economy and emission requirements, auto designers are using new materials, including carbon fiber, new steel alloys, and aluminum alloys in their vehicles; they are also adding new features to help meet these requirements. These changes greatly increase product complexity in the manufacturing assembly process. This added complexity makes in-line error proofing more difficult.

Vendors of 2D machine vision technology created expectations that a simple 2D camera could see an assembly and tell whether it was correct.  However, in the 3D world of manufacturing, 2D vision cameras turned out to be “temperamental”- highly dependent upon ideal lighting conditions, for example – and therefore, unreliable.

Although Robust3D solutions are relatively new, they are proving to be highly reliable in the high-pressure world of auto manufacturing.  Their ability to error proof complex assemblies to prevent quality issues (and their associated product recalls) is creating a revolution in the industry.

The error-proofing solutions currently being implemented are solving well-known problems that have plagued auto manufacturers for decades, for example, piston pin circlip assembly, rolling finger follower assembly, valve assembly, etc. Robust3D vision technology enables powerful solutions to those age-old problems that cannot be solved any other ways.

Surprisingly, the cost of ownership of a 3D error-proofing solution is lower than a temperamental 2D solution, which requires continual adjusting to accommodate changes in ambient lighting and in the part color. In addition, the 3D error-proofing solutions are much easier for people to use.

Coherix solutions have significant advantages, because the Coherix team has been involved in 3D vision technology and applications for over 30 years.  Our i-Cite™ software platform has been developed over the past 20 years and contains over 250 field tested functional software modules.  In a “drag and drop” development environment,  our application engineers can quickly drag functional software modules on to the screen, connect them up, push the button and have a functioning complex 3D error proofing completed for YOUR specific application requirements.

Ease of use for the customer, and ease of development for Coherix is the winning combination to deliver customer delight!

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