Assembly Guidance (Chelmsford, Mass.) today announced the launch of LASERVISION, a revolutionary laser projector with integrated aimed vision that can reduce the time associated with the layup and inspection of composites parts by over 50%. Combining advanced laser projection with high-performance imaging, this new system automates in-process quality monitoring, verification and documentation of composites parts, thus streamlining production significantly.
LASERVISION automates three stages of composites inspection that have traditionally required tedious and time-consuming manual routines. These include; (1) pre-inspection system alignment, often a time consuming process, (2) access to the tool surface and references for critical characteristics, also requiring considerable manual intervention, and (3) inspection/documentation, which can benefit from the most considerable time savings. Companies using Automatic Fiber Placement robots often experience 60% or more stoppage time due to these processes.
LASERVISION’s quality verification and documentation is provided either in a stand-alone system or as a component in integrated manufacturing cells. “Unlike laser systems that provide application software with which the controller must interact,” Scott Blake Assembly Guidance President explains, “LASERVISION can be integrated at the driver level, so that the common controller’s software runs the laser system directly.”
LASERVISION’s software development kit (SDK) allows 3rd party companies such as AFP robot manufacturers to tightly integrate LASERVISION into the fabrication work cell. This completely eliminates pre-inspection orientation because the fully integrated laser system is continuously oriented to the work cell’s common coordinate system. This routine has been known to take more than an hour for each and every inspection when it is conducted manually.
LASERVISION’s enhanced remote automated imaging system can also be tapped into through the SDK. By automating the flow of information between the AFP robot and LASERVISION, stoppage time for the robot can be significantly reduced while allowing an inspector to perform inspections in sometimes hard-to-reach places without leaving his work station.
LASERVISION’s optical aiming system automatically steers the system’s high-resolution camera, which then captures images of small regions to be inspected within large, complex fields. Calibrated images are sent to the inspector’s remote monitor.
Enhanced remote automated imaging also provides a significant advancement in quality assurance by enhancing the acquired images. Blake comments “Rather than struggling to visually distinguish black-on-black material, inspectors can magnify an image and enhance contrast for the layer being inspected.” Digital caliper gauges can be automatically placed over areas of interest. LASERVISION’s automated documentation then records the image and any references or verifications.
Additionally, LASERVISION’s SDK enables integrators to fully automate the inspection process. Images captured by LASERVISION can be mapped, pixel by pixel, onto the nominal model and analyzed to disqualify or confirm acceptable fabrication, reserving human inspection for suspect areas only. Through algorithmic analysis, human factors are removed from the inspection process and inspection cycle times are greatly reduced. For areas requiring rework, LASERVISION utilizes its laser projection optics to immediately pinpoint the location of the issue to be resolved, therefore allowing operators to make corrections at the lowest possible price point.
Initial deliveries of LASERVISION will document every automated fiber placement (AFP) process on a new US widebody wingskin and spar later this year. Said Scott Blake; “This represents the first time that a complete record of every piece of composite material has ever been automatically created for a large aircraft structure.” LASERVISION has also been proven in an application in which automatic detection of peel ply foreign object debris (FOD) is required in wing-skin and structural bonding.”
Said Matt Zmijewski Assembly Guidance COO; “We are very excited to launch our new line of LASERVISION projectors at this year’s Composite Europe trade show in Stuttgart Germany together with our new European distributor JETCAM Composite GmbH. We plan to hold two media events at their booth number 7/E38 during which members of the press will get their first chance to experience our new LASERVISION system first hand.”