Machine Vision Across the Automotive Supply Chain

November 01, 2019

With ever-evolving standards for quality and efficiency, automotive suppliers are challenged with the task of increasing productivity while lowering operating costs. Quality control in particular continues to experience radical boosts in efficiency with industrial cameras, and Samsara Machine Vision offers powerful capabilities that can be set up in seconds. In the example below, we walk through the production of a bumper to illustrate how Machine Vision can be applied to every step of the automotive supply chain to increase productivity, speed, and safety. 

Tier 3 - Materials Supplier

From glass to metals to plastics, Tier 3 suppliers must perform quality control across a variety of metrics and conditions. Machine Vision can automate this process by performing inspections on the production line and examining different visual indicators, such as:

  • Measuring dimensions of metal sheets

  • Inspecting for visual defects in glass

  • Detecting foreign materials in rubber 

  • Checking colors of different plastics

Once raw materials pass all quality inspections, Tier 3 suppliers hand them off to Tier 2 component suppliers. 

Tier 2 - Component Supplier

Tier 2 suppliers must adhere to strict quality, safety, and dimension specifications to ensure that parts not only meet regulation requirements but also can correctly fit into other components and systems created by downstream suppliers. Machine Vision can automate this process by performing inspections on quality aspects such as:

  • Inspecting width of headlamp covers

  • Verifying the correct type and quantity of screw rivets

  • Checking colors of bumper grilles

  • Detecting defects on bumper D-rings

Once bumper parts pass all quality inspections, Tier 2 suppliers hand them off to Tier 1 system suppliers. 

Tier 1 - System Supplier

Tier 1 suppliers must properly assemble and test all system parts to ensure they meet OEM requirements and federal regulations. Machine Vision can automate this process by performing inspections on quality aspects such as:

  • Verifying headlamps can turn on correctly and offer distinct brightness levels

  • Verifying reinforcement beams are properly installed

  • Counting the number of installed bumper retainers

  • Inspecting angle of bumper splash shields

  • Detecting defects in bumper cover frames

Once bumper systems pass all quality inspections, Tier 1 suppliers deliver them directly to car manufacturers.

OEM - Car Manufacturer

The car manufacturer BMW combines the bumper system with other car components to create vehicles that consumers can purchase. The OEM must assemble the final product carefully and perform extensive tests to ensure both design specifications and federal regulations are properly met. Machine Vision can automate this process by performing inspections on quality aspects such as:

  • Verifying BMW logo is present and angled correctly on the bumper

  • Detecting shapes of bumper dents in crash tests

  • Measuring dimensions of bumper components

  • Verifying presence of sensor holes

The automotive manufacturing process ultimately requires visual quality inspections during every step of the supply chain, and Samsara Machine Vision makes it easy for any automotive supplier to improve the efficiency, safety, and sustainability of their operations.

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