“Geboren op de racebaan. Gebouwd voor de weg.” Dit is de slogan waarmee Audi de R8 sport auto serie promoot. Bij de productie van de body van deze auto wordt een laser systeem van Z-Laser gebruikt om de medewerkers te helpen met de handmatige inspectie van ongeveer 1500 lasnaden per body.
In the Audi Böllinger Höfe factory from Audi Sport the Audi R8 super auto is manufactured. This is almost completely done manually. In addition, there is a quality check performed by the workers to guarantee that the bodies of the cars meet the quality standards of Audi. This way, according to Felix Knoll – head of the body construction at Audi Sport – a body with only one faulty welding seam does not meet the quality standards of Audi and thus can not be sold.
So, there has to be performed a one hundred per cent good check on all welding seams every single day. The problem in this application is: how can an aluminum welding seam be checked on an aluminum background? According to Knoll optical methods like digital image processing systems that compare the whole with a submitted image were not sufficient. Other technologies like computer tomography, MRI or augmented reality were candidates as well but these proved to be not effective either. Lastly, they went with the laser projection system of Z-Laser because of the many criteria that the system has to meet.
An important criteria was that the system should make it possible to check every welding seam of every body within a certain time so no delays will occur in the production. The system had to be able to build into limited mounting spaces as well. Because of the mounting spot there is limited space. This is solved by Audi through a mounting system, lifting platforms and power and data cables so Z-Laser can build in the laser system without any problems. In addition to these requirements, the price of the system was also a demand because it had to be within a certain budget.
In the search for the right system Knoll and his colleagues stumbled upon Z-Laser that is specialized in the production of lasers for innovative applications from clients for years. In 2016 Z-laser gave a demonstration from which it became clear that it met all requirements. After several tests, Z-Laser received the order from Audi in October of 2016. Subsequently Z-Laser has guided Knoll and his team with the integration and programming of the laser system. In April of 2017, the testing for application in the bodies of the Audi R8 Coupe and not much later the system worked for the whole series and the Z-Laser system was integrated.
Met het Z-laser systeem gaat de check nu als volgt: eerst wordt de 3D body dataset in het systeem gezet, vervolgens projecteert het Z-Laser systeem deze dataset van verschillende kanten met zes LP-HFD2 lasers op de daadwerkelijke body. De werknemer selecteert dan de juiste positie en het huidige model en kan dan door de stappen van de inspectie klikken met een afstandsbediening. De laser schijnt een groen laser lijn op het geselecteerde onderwerp, waarmee de werknemer kan vergelijken of de daadwerkelijke body overeenkomt met de juiste positie die weergegeven is met de laser. De kwaliteit moet de werknemer dan wel zelf nog beoordelen. Er is gekozen voor een groene laser zodat het duidelijk genoeg is voor de kijker.
Knoll is satisfied with this solution, so the checking procedure has significantly become more efficient. The software with which it is possible to configure at which time and at which position a laser projection for the welding seam has to be provided by which laser this process as a whole is automated. This makes the system easy to use when teaching new employees. It is also a flexible system that easily adjustable an thus easy to use with a new model or to make adjustments in current models. This way a small adjustment in the current model takes only a few minutes until it is processed. A completely new model costs two to three weeks of working time, but no external help is needed. Knoll found the cooperation with Z-Laser very pleasant and pragmatic.