Automated machine-vision system tests airbag inflators

To guarantee the quality of its automotive airbag components, MOSA Industrial Corp. implemented a vision-based inspection system for the airbag  inflators’ caps.

Automated machine-vision system tests airbag inflators
Automated machine-vision system tests airbag inflators

Variousautomotive airbags must deploy within milliseconds to protect lives in the event of an accident. The bags themselves are inflated by highly compressed gas, commonly nitrous oxide contained in a metallic charger. Ensuring these chargers function properly is vital since their failure could have fatal consequences for motorists. Any defects in the cap or its valve could cause a partial or complete loss of gas before the airbag is triggered, resulting in insufficient pressure for the airbag to inflate properly.

To guarantee the quality of its products,MOSA Industrial Corp. (Yunlin, Taiwan) implemented a vision-based inspection system for the inflators’ caps. The system automatically checks each cylinder for up to five defects: cracks, valves that are positioned upside down, bends, rust, and concave instead of convex surfaces.

Two parallel conveyor lines feed gas chargers though the vision system after the filling process and prior to shipping. A conveyor belt first delivers the cylinders into a cogwheel that positions them in front of a camera. Because the inflators are randomly fed in, two Guppy F-033B monochrome cameras fromAllied Vision Technologies (Stadtroda, Germany) face each other to capture the head, whatever the orientation of the cylinder. When the inflator passes in front of the cameras, sensors measure where the head is located in order to trigger the appropriate camera to capture the image.

Images are then transmitted via FireWire bus to a processor, where they are analyzed usingOpen eVision image-processing software provided by Euresys www.euresys.com (Angleur, Belgium). Failed products are then automatically ejected from the line. Presently, the system is inspecting parts at the rate of 13 per second, but the system could manage faster speeds if needed.

-- Posted byVision Systems Design

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