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Ford Begins Using 3D Mapping for Quality Inspections

The cameras take 9,000 images and compare them against control

 
 
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It is impossible for a human eye to examine all of the sides of the gear teeth simultanously

FordFordFordUnited States of America, 1903 > present92 models
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has begun using 3D mapping for quality assurance in the production of rear axle parts for the F-SeriesF-Series Gen.12Ford F-Series Gen.12United States of America, 2009 > 201499 versions
112 photos
range of pickups. It believes that it is the first application of the technology for quality assurance on the assembly line.

The cameras function as a photogrammetric pattern reader, which means that a pair of digital cameras takes 9,000 images of each rear axle after assembly. The images are combined together to create a 3D image of the axle and are compared against the ideal model in the computer. If axle does not meet the criteria, then it is sent back to be fixed. 

It is actually similar to the way a CT scanner works in medicine. The images scan a line at a time using infrared lights to create slices of the axle. It then combines these images together to create the 3D image. 

It is impossible for a human to see both sides of the gear teeth of the axle at once, but because a camera is used on each side of the gear, the PPR system it able to do it. 

“PPR technology is the next evolution in quality control for our commercial trucks. This new technology allows us to conduct our inspections faster, and at a level of detail the human eye just cannot discern," said Ford engineer David Gravel.

The system is currently only being used at Ford's Sterling Axle Plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan, but it will eventually be added to more Ford factories to fill quality assurance roles.

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