Real-time quality inspection of adhesive beads with uEye LE board level cameras

Bonding has become a key technology in the modern automotive industry. According to the Industrieverband Klebstoffe e.V. (adhesives industry association), a car today contains around 15 – 18 kg of adhesive and runs through dozens of gluing systems during production. Bonding is becoming more and more a new alternative to welding, screwing or riveting. The reasons are simple: safety and economy. But to be able to guarantee this, a high-precision adhesive and sealant application is necessary. The French company AKEOPLUS has developed the AkeoBI sensor that checks adhesive beads in real time directly on the production line and thus ensures 100% quality in material deposition.

In crash tests, vehicles with a high adhesive content usually perform best. This is because the parts to be bonded are not negatively affected during bonding. Welding generates heat, which can influence the materials used and their properties. Screws cause holes. Glue, on the other hand, bonds without material changes – a real safety factor. Adhesive systems are now used in both engine and body construction. They securely connect sheet metal to each other or fix car windows in the corresponding frames, thus ensuring high rigidity of the body. The latter also guarantees a high potential for energy savings. A prerequisite for strong connections and also for sealing, however, is the exact application of the adhesive beads in all bonding processes, especially with safety-relevant parts. They must be dispensed at all locations in the same quality – even in corners and curves.

Error minimization and traceability
AkeoBI, is an intelligent production tool, developed by AKEOPLUS, that helps to guarantee 100% quality of material deposition. The sensor inspects all types of beads in real time directly on the assembly line – whether glue, mastic, silicone or foam. Mounted on adhesive guns on fixed bolts on the assembly line or directly on the robot arm of the bonding system, special algorithms check bead width, continuity and position and detect any surplus or lack of material with an accuracy of +/- 0.5 mm. This all happens at a speed of 450 mm per second.

Due to its compact dimensions of only 170 mm x 50 mm and its low weight of 1.5 kg, AkeoBI can be integrated into almost any production plant. The system can be individually configured to meet the requirements of various applications. A central unit can, for example, carry out the inspection with two sensors simultaneously or only trigger random checks.

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