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Robotic X-ray Inspection of Cast Automotive Wheels

The HeiDetect Wheel Robot wheel inspection system, from HEITEC PTS, achieves an extremely high throughput due to its integrated industrial robot and is ideal for inline operation in the mass production of cast aluminium automotive wheels. Several areas of the wheel can be tested in one testing position using the large X-ray detector, allowing the number of handling steps to be reduced, shortening the test time for each wheel.

HeiDetect Wheel Robot offers a fully automatic wheel test facility and, through the integration of the ISAR image evaluation software and the 400 mm x 200 mm XEye detector, developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, allows almost pseudo error-free evaluation with stable image quality. The efficient processing of images allows casting errors such as shrink holes, pores, cavities and foreign matter in the range of 3% of the radiographed wall thickness to be detected and classified. Large areas of oxide can also be detected from a size of 1% of the wall thickness.

The ISAR evaluation software includes fully automatic evaluation of X-ray images with automatic defect recognition (ADR) allowing automated production monitoring. Defect detection algorithms are employed to reliably detect standard defects, such as cavities and pores, as well as algorithms for special tasks (character recognition, low-contrast defects in wheels) with a focus on the seamless integration of testing into the production process. Creating a test program for a new type of wheel can be generated offline and synchronized to the production X-ray inspection system.

The ISAR evaluation software offers an ergonomic, Windows-based, graphic user interface via which the test parameters can be set individually for OEM wheel variants and specifications. Specially prepared test results are transmitted to production in real-time enabling trend analysis and continuous product quality optimization aimed to minimize scrap.

Further benefits are offered by the automatic wheel inspection system by incorporating barcodes, allowing the alignment of the wheels to be specified, and associated test results monitored. The system can inspect wheel sizes from 13” to 24” and spokes and hub can be captured with a single image.

The compact installation space and full enclosure allows incorporation into the production process, even in extreme production conditions. The wheel gripper is designed so that wheels with a faulty rim flange can also be tested. The Fraunhofer Institute detector exhibits an extremely low rate of degradation with replacement not be required for at least 10 years.

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