Regardless of the views and opinions of skeptics and enthusiasts of electric drives in cars, the industry associated with electromobility is developing rapidly. Batteries are critical components that decide whether a driver will be satisfied with their car’s performance and range. Car manufacturers offering the highest class of luxury and elegance are very aware of this fact.
The case of Daimler AG is an excellent example. Recently it began manufacturing batteries at its Polish Mercedes-Benz Manufacturing factory in Jawor. The plant, which had, until then, only manufactured highly technologically advanced four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines, has been expanded with additional production space specifically for electromobility. This expansion enables the factory to manufacture batteries designed to power the electric drive of Mercedes-Benz passenger vehicles. The factory is an excellent example of the implementation of an Industry 4.0 strategy, made evident on the shop floor by the 100 robots and 220 autonomous vehicles operating there.
Another component of the described strategy is the use of large data sets – ‘Big Data’. Geometry measurements of manufactured elements are taken by the most technologically advanced optical scanning devices, for example. To this end, a HandySCAN BLACK ELITE laser scanner from Creaform – a pioneer in blue-light laser scanners – is used during the battery’s quality control process at the Mercedes-Benz plant. This scanner is used for both the measurements of geometric features of the first commissioned pieces and the measurements of ongoing production.
The entire scanning process takes place without the need for coating parts with a matting substance (e.g. chalk), which eliminates the time-consuming and polluting necessity of specially preparing parts for measurements. Moreover, no washing and cleaning of manufactured parts is required after measurement. This is possible thanks to a special technology, involving the use of a blue laser source, which is substantially better suited for scanning machined parts in comparison to structural light.
The 3D data obtained from the scanner is compared to nominal data from the CAD file, and the result is a set of deviations graphically represented by a color map of deviations. Of course, data files from measurements can easily be used to optimize the production process, by employing a feedback loop with the machine tools performing operations and technological procedures on production lines. In addition, data in numerical form is sent to a statistical system, where it is archived and analyzed to verify the stability of the production process. Thanks to such measures, any deviation from set values is detected immediately, simultaneously guaranteeing that all products leaving the production line of the Mercedes-Benz plant in Jawor are fully compliant with production targets.
It should also be noted that, when it comes to battery measurements, Mercedes-Benz is a pioneer in Poland for its use of the modern and innovative blue-light laser scanning technology. The choice of the measuring device was not accidental, as it was supported by tests of various solutions available on the market. Ultimately, the factory placed its bet on Creaform’s system, due to the unique quality of the data acquired, data acquisition time, and versatility of the offered solution.
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