Tube Inspection System

This automated inspection system was developed and programmed for inline inspections of 2” diameter steering column tubes.

The system was installed at the end of a production line and inspected tubes as they traveled out of the production machine on the customer’s shop floor. Once a tube traveled out of the production area, and rolled on the first set of inspection rollers, the part triggered the camera to find a known locking hole. After that, the tube was gripped by a robot and presented to a series of cameras and lasers to inspect for burrs, notches, out of roundness, diameter, and a series of other features. Based on pass/fail results, the part was handled by a servo drive mechanism and placed into good/bad bins for operator removal.

The system utilized a Keyence Vision Controller with 21MP and 5MP cameras for all vision inspections and a Keyence 2D laser micrometer for diameter measurements. A Nachi robot performed all part handling for passing and failing parts. The data was collected and displayed locally on the vision screen during tests and communicated with the line for pass/fail results. A PLC and a color touch screen HMI were used to control this machine and display run data. All electrical components were housed inside a Nema-12 enclosure on the front of the system. The system had a series of access doors for maintenance, change over, and good/bad part removal.