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Robotic inspector increases flexibility

01 June, 2005

Robotic inspector increases flexibility

Goldlogic Control Systems (GCS), based in Manchester, UK, has developed an inspection system which uses a camera on the end of a six-axis robot arm to perform a series of inspections of parts or assemblies. It could, for example, be used to check assemblies for weld integrity, correctly installed rivets, washer dimensions, and so on. Any number, and almost any type, of visual inspection can be included in a cycle, and the system can be reprogrammed easily to cater for new assemblies or altered inspection requirements.

The robotic inspection system is said to be much more flexible than fixed vision systems and more reliable than human inspectors. "The camera can be positioned at the optimum angle for illuminating and photographing the target - a vital factor when inspecting welds, for example, and an impossible task with a static camera system," says GCS` founder, Ian Smith.

The system uses a Siemens camera carried by a floor-, ceiling- or wall-mounted ABB robot. It is controlled by a Siemens S7 PLC which communicates with the camera and the robot via Profibus.

"Though we use standard equipment throughout, we are the first company to have brought everything together within one system," Smith claims. "When linked to our specially developed data acquisition software, the result is an innovative and extremely cost-efficient inspection system."

GCS` software communicates with the camera, PLC and robot, uploading a 300kB bitmap image to a PC at each inspection point. Every image can be stored or, optionally, only "failed" images uploaded.

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