Quality control at the point of a finger
Feb 7, 2013 - For production operations, quality assurance over the process chain is indispensible: it is the only way to detect problems at an early stage and lower additional costs.
Fraunhofer researchers developed an efficient type of quality control: With a pointing gesture, employees can input any detected defects to car body parts into the inspection system, and document them there. The non-contact gesture-detection process will be on display in Hall 2, Booth D18 at the 2013 Hannover Messe from 8 to 12 April.
With utter meticulousness, the quality control inspector examines a car bumper for defects in the paint work – ultimately, only impeccable body parts get sent to final assembly. If he finds a defect in the paint, just a point of the finger is all it takes to send the defect to the QS inspection system, store it and document it. The employee obtains visual feedback through a monitor that displays a 3D reconstruction of the bumper. At first glance, it might seem completely futuristic, though soon enough, it could become an everyday part of quality assurance: Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation IOSB in Karlsruhe engineered the intelligent gesture control system on behalf of the BMW Group. In the future, it should supersede today’s time-consuming test procedures. “Previously, the inspector had to note all defects that were detected, leave his workstation, go to the PC terminal, operate multiple input screens and then label the position of the defect and the defect type. That approach is laborious, time-intensive and prone to error,” asserts Alexander Schick, scientist at IOSB. The gesture control system, by contrast, improves the inspec-
3D tracking records people and objects in real time
This non-contact gesture-detection system is based on 3D data. Hence, the entire workstation must first be reconstructed in 3D. That includes the individual as well as the object with which he is working. “What does the inspector look like? Where is he situated? How does he move? What is he doing? Where is the object? – all of these data are required so that the pointing gesture can properly link to the bumper,” ex-
“The breeding ground for this technology is our Smart Control Room, where people can interact with the room quite naturally. They can use pointing gestures to operate remote displays – without any additional equipment. The room recognizes what actions are taking place at that moment, and offers the appropriate information and tools. Since gesture detection does not depend on display screens, this means we can im-
The technology can be subsequently integrated into existing production systems at little expense. Scientists could incorporate their effective process into the BMW Group’s system through a specialized interface module. The gesture detection system will be presented at the 2013 Hannover Messe, from 8 to 12 April, at the Fraunhofer joint exhibition booth in Hall 2, Booth D18.
Plans call for the installation of a prototype model at the BMW plant in Landshut in January 2013. Working in cooperation with quality control inspectors, the system will be fine-tuned onsite before it gets deployed to production in the future.
Modified from materials provided by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
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