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Perceptron Inc.

AutoGauge FMS In-Process Measuring System

At the core of Perceptron’s AutoGauge FMS is an integrated set of software that enables a flexible, robot-based, non-contact, dimension-measuring system for in-process use on any assembly line, especially where rapid inspections at numerous, difficult to access points are required. FMS stands for “Flexible Measurement System,” and indicates an intrinsic capability to configure measurement quickly for different part geometries and dynamic situations. The system has automatic alarming features, including notification via pagers, and employs web-based reporting. Workers may be alerted to dimensional variations, allowing them to determine root causes of problems and implement corrective actions rapidly where they occur.

AutoGauge FMS has been designed to accommodate the range of automotive product inspection needs, including self-location of the robot itself. During the product launch phase, many variables affect the quality of assemblies and sub-assemblies, e.g. the dimensional integrity of the individual components, the alignment of tooling fixtures, and welding processes. During this phase, production volumes are low but the demand for measurement data is great. As production increases to full volume, the manufacturing process stabilizes and measurement focuses on key process control points. In this situation, a steady-state strategy is employed that concentrates on detection of short and long-term variations. Finally, during the course of full production in complex manufacturing, unexpected problems invariably arise. When this occurs, measurements are needed of part features that are not usually measured during every cycle. In this situation measurement routines for suspect areas must be activated to focus on the source of the problem.

The core of the AutoGauge FMS innovation is the approach to the design and utilization of its information processing system; it is able to assimilate, analyze and act on measurement data from multiple parts with different geometries in a high production environment. Further, a single user may access all the primary system functions with a common, easy-to-use software interface. The ultimate user, ordinarily a quality control engineer, may perform all of the system functions, e.g. system calibration, measurement routine setup, temperature compensation of parts under measurement, algorithm teaching, assembly line communications, limits and alarms settings, and data analysis and reporting.

Perceptron has integrated the many complex components of a robot-based measurement system into an effective software solution. AutoGauge FMS is not only a flexible measurement system, it provides a common user interface for control, configuration, and analysis. It is currently being utilized by BMW in both Germany and the U.S., Mercedes in the U.S., Ford in Chicago, CAMI in Ontario, and Dana Corporation in Texas.