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Ford Motors Plans Investments in Laser Vision Robots for Improving Quality

Ford Motors intends to invest an amount of 100 million dollars worldwide for implementing the robotic laser inspection technology to ensure perfect fitting of automotive parts.

The plan to implement robotic inspection addresses the top quality issue in the industry, which is wind noise. Ford plans to implement the technology beginning with the Ford Focus and Ford Explorer. The technology would be implemented in facilities that produce a high volume of Ford automotives such as the Chicago Assembly Plant, Michigan Assembly plant and the Saarlouis plant in Germany. The adoption of the robotic laser inspection is part of Ford’s quality drive to become a world leader in customer satisfaction.

Ron Ketelhut, the chief engineer at Body Construction Engineering, claimed that the robotic laser system inspects the dimensions of the interfaces on the automotive body with high precision in the order of one tenth of a millimetre. Occurrence of wind noise is greatly reduced as the robotic system ensures near perfect fitting of the door panels. The inspection technology consists of an end-of-line robotic technology, which is guided by laser and is programmed to identify any deviation from the original specification and instruct the operator of a corrective action in case of a defect. The technology was first implemented in Germany, when the company was satisfied with the improvement in quality they rolled it out to the other manufacturing units across the world.

The laser vision technology will be upgraded in order to be able to validate the door quality margins after the doors are fixed. The robotic system is capable of halting the assembling process in case it finds a deviation from Ford’s quality measurements. With the use of a machine- based inspection system, chances of human errors in judgement is avoided. In addition to the robotic vision inspection, Ford implements other technologies to detect cabin air leakage, NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) chambers and coordinate measuring machines.

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