AICON 3D's TubeInspect vision system wins German Industry Innovation Award

JULY 3, 2007--The German Industry Innovation Award for Optical Technologies has been awarded to AICON 3D (Braunschweig, Germany; www.aicon.de) for its TubeInspect automotive tube inspection system.

Jul 3rd, 2007

JULY 3, 2007--The German Industry Innovation Award for Optical Technologies has been awarded to AICON 3D (Braunschweig, Germany; www.aicon.de) for its TubeInspect automotive tube inspection system. The award is bestowed annually by the German "Initiative Mittelstand" (Initiative for small and medium-sized companies) and the publishing house Huber. An independent jury of experts and technical journalists evaluate the products with respect to their degree of innovation and their benefit for small and medium-sized companies.

The pipes and tubes inspected ensure the power and safety of fuel or brake fluid. The tubes are delivered in fixed dimensions and are shaped into complex patterns with the help of bending machines. Traditionally, the automotive industry used mechanical gauges for quality control; the shaped pipe was inserted and checked visually. However, this inspection process proved to be inflexible and cost-intensive since the gauges had to be manufactured for each tube and vehicle type and had to be altered for even the smallest changes in geometry.

The TubeInspect system works with 16 high-resolution Marlin FireWire cameras from Allied Vision Technologies (Stadtroda, Germany; www.alliedvisiontec.com. The line to be measured is placed in the optical measurement cell and its geometry is digitally determined via the cameras. TubeInspect measures tubes with diameters from 4 to 200 mm.

The measurement of a line with 15 bends takes about 10 to 20 seconds. Once the results has been recorded, the software does a target/actual comparison. Variances are displayed in color with the aid of a curved surface tolerance calculation. If the tube measured needs corrections, the system can transmit them via a server directly to the CNC program of the tube-bending machine.

Frank Grube, president and CEO of Allied Vision Technologies, says, "We have been working closely with AICON for years now and are extremely proud that our digital camera technologies contributed to this success." The TubeInspect system is currently being used at about 40 worldwide locations by automotive manufacturers and suppliers, and is also being used in the aerospace industry.

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