One issue that MS3D encountered was that
different companies have different standards
for how they want the data presented. Rather
than developing a unique graphical user interface (GUI), MS3D integrates Quindos, a third-party soft ware from Hexagon Metrology that is
used as a front end.
“We tested many software products on the
market, and this was the only one which was
at the same time universal and able to quickly
interface with our own software,” said Rosen-
baum. “The real bottleneck comes from the
fact this software is geared for 2D input from
tactile machines, not 3D data. However, this
software allows us to present the data the way
the customer wants it.”
Geometrical features or surface aspect
defects are directly extracted from the dense
cloud of points using specific software devel-
oped by MS3D. The software compares
the scan data to dimensions extracted from
CAD models or 2D drawings to measure spe-
cific areas of interest and determine if it is
within tolerance or not. A final report is cre-
ated showing the measurement analysis per-
formed on each part.
In order to minimize the risk of faulty con-
nectors making it into the supply chain, one major US connector
manufacturer gave engineers at G2 Technologies (Apex, NC, USA;
www.g2tek.com) the nod to develop an automated connector inspec-
tion system. The system, built on the PXI platform from National
Instruments (NI; Austin,
TX, USA; www.ni.com/
vision), combines a machine-
vision based non-contact 3D
inspection system, a clean-
ing station, electrical test and
“Inspectors can see bent
and missing pins all day
long, but it’s easy to miss
a faulty connector with a
pin that’s just too short,”
explains Craig Borsack,
President of G2 Technolo-
gies. “This application is a
huge improvement. By offer-
ing noncontact inspection and the ability to spot these type of flaws
that were previously making it through the process, our non-con-
tact inspection system could save this connector manufacturer and
others millions of dollars or more each year.”
The inspection system is installed after stitching, a process that
accumulates contact pins and inserts them into molded connector
housings. Stitched connectors enter on an input conveyor and pass
under a Genie Nano M1920 GigE Vision camera from Teledyne
DALSA (Waterloo, ON, Canada; www.teledynedalsa.com).
An image of the connector is acquired with illumination provided by a DL 194 diffuse dome light from Advanced illumination
(Rochester, V T, USA; www.advancedillumination.com). The image
is then analyzed to verify that the correct part is present and that it’s
in the proper orientation to proceed through the inspection process.
If the part is not correct or is improperly oriented, the system diverts
it into a reject bin.
Parts deemed correct and that are properly aligned proceed to
an orientation wheel that repositions the part board-side down, for
the next station, which is board-side inspection. At this station, a
scanCONTROL 2650-25 laser line profiler from Micro Epsilon
(Ortenburg, Germany; www.micro-epsilon.com) scans the entire
board side of the connector.
After board-side inspection, connector-side inspection takes place.
Due to cycle time requirements, and the need to scan the part from
both directions, inspection of the mating side of the connector is performed at two stations by two additional laser line profilers.
“Two scans are required due to shadowing effects created by the
connector shell as the part is scanned from one side,” explains Bor-
sack. “In order to get a complete 3D point cloud, the part must be
scanned from both directions, then the images are combined to
mask out the shadows.”
The system scans from both sides and creates a plane based on a
pad (feature) on the bottom of the mate side connector. This plane
will be used to measure true position and pin height of the contacts.
Borsack said his company is proud of the 3D inspection system it
has developed and hopes other connector manufacturers will consider exploring this for their companies.
“It’s a small price to pay when you look at the potential savings
it offers. Not only can this inspection system help protect a manufacturer from being sued for millions of dollars in damages in a
recall situation,” Borsack said. “It could also absolutely save lives.”
Metal clips ( 1, 2, 3, and 4) on the connector create a reference plane from which the system measures the
height of the contacts. Two posts (T and U) on the connector provide a datum for measuring the position
information for each contact. The 3D view (right) shows a close up of post U and contact 5 and 6.
continued from page 11
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