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Enhancing Visual Inspection With Digital Twins

Krone is a global supplier of agricultural equipment renowned for its bailing equipment producing quality forage critical for the livestock industry. As an early pilot customer, Krone’s quality engineers tested Visometry’s  Twyn Augmented Reality solution especially for incoming goods and in quality audits.

Particularly in the case of the quality audits, things typically start with some question marks for Krone’s QA engineers. It’s clear that there’s an issue at hand, but it’s now up to them to find the root of the problem. A tense situation, where performance is crucial. Twyn have helped to save time, and revealed what would have slipped through even trained eyes.

After getting to now the software platform, engineers used it to inspect the batch of balers. It turned out that a bolt was misplaced, which led to the flaps not being able to close completely, due to a construction with too little leeway in some cases.

Augmented Visual Inspections Find Deviations Faster & Efficiently

Augmented Reality reveals what’s usually hidden in plain sight: the offset of sometimes inclined substructures becomes immediately visible, when comparing the baler’s as-is against its CAD specification in augmented reality.

Visual augmented reality techniques and the auto-detection of the baler’s inspected elements made error localisation much faster and easier, while featuring precise results. A digital-by-design process made reporting simple and quick, and shortened the feedback loop between production & design, which enabled to apply changes at the root of the problem immediately.

With Twyn, Krone not only identified the falsely placed bolt more quickly than before, but also made visible the sometimes inclined position of an entire substructure, which from time to time led to not too serious problems, but all too often caused trouble in further assembly.

Understanding AR’s Potential For Day-to-Day Use

At Krone, AR’s great potential for industrial use was know for some time now. With AR enabling a seamless overlay of information and 3D constructions in the context of the real environment, those responsible saw many opportunities, especially for visual inspection tasks in quality control and service assistance.

Initially, however, Krone was not sure about the possibilities and benefits for specific, industrial use in the context of their production and quality processes. Nor were engineering sure about the effort required to put the technology into operation at the plant.

Challenges of Lean Production & Quality Control

The globally active agricultural machinery manufacturer is considered a “hidden champion” in parts of its industry and, like many others, faces the challenges of a fast, individualising production landscape with a large number of product variants, in some cases with comparatively small production series.

In particular, this poses challenges for quality assurance with its current solutions, combined with the search for systems that are more efficient, more flexible and less time-consuming to use.

Enhancing Visual Inspection – With Digital Twins

As a mobile augmented reality platform for quality inspection, Twyn uses digital twins to make deviations between target & actual of manufactured items directly visible. In doing so, it enables to augment and match a reality captured item against its CAD specification. Even better: deviations get automatically highlighted by an auto-detection, if desired.

What’s more, Twyn can be used off the shelf on a daily basis, with a minimal effort to setup AR-based inspections. Something, which was important for Krone. While team leaders were eager to help assess and improve Twyn on many levels, it is the less (high-)tech experienced personell, which is using the platform in their daily routines. Their goal is to ensure quality, not to become an expert in the field of AR.

After initial research, Krone quickly became aware of Visometry as an AR technology- and solution provider, and Twyn in particular.

“It was the system’s simplicity in use that convinced us”, recalls Andreas Audick, quality engineer at Krone. “The ease of using Twyn and AR without much integration effort and knowledge is impressive. Regardless of whether large or small objects, individual parts or assemblies: the range in use is promising for us”.

Today, Twyn is used on a daily basis to ensure the quality of incoming goods, It extends the toolset of inspection techniques Krone can rely on: ”We can now inspect more parts in the same time, and decide on a case-by-case basis whether to move into a detailed inspection with significantly more time-consuming procedures.” says Audick. “What really impressed us was that with augmented reality-enhanced inspections, we were able to work much faster than before, especially the time it took to prepare for an actual inspection was greatly decreased. There is a huge potential.”

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