Quality Inspection Case Study
Accurate and affordable sensors are the
keys to an effective non-contact inline
quality inspection process
Manufacturers understand that “goodenough” quality control is a risky proposition
in today’s heavily regulated, litigation-prone
marketplace. Even small assembly errors can
evolve into huge business liabilities once
customers take delivery on new products or
“Manufacturing is becoming increasingly
complex,” says Bryan Monty, automotive
strategic account manager for Omron
Automation Americas. “Omron works with
companies to mitigate risk using noncontact inline inspection. We enable them to
validate components and detect and resolve
issues before anything leaves the factory.
We also make it easy to include traceability
controls in their processes.”
Non-contact inspection
is a practical option for
high-speed production
Non-contact inspection occurs without
touching or probing a part. Instead, the
inspection system relies on proximity sensors
to capture shapes and measurements
from a distance, allowing a higher rate of
throughput than contact-based inspection.
In the past, non-contact systems often were
not a good fit for high-speed production
lines. Inexpensive systems tended to be
inaccurate, and more accurate systems
tended to be very expensive.
That is no longer the case, says Rick
Tomaszewski, territory account manager for
Omron Automation America. “Omron makes
non-contact inspection accurate, affordable
and easy to set up.”
Omron enables customers to standardize
on a single automation technology and
then configure it for a variety of purposes,
including non-contact quality inspection.
All-in-one vision sensor
improves results and saves
automaker $1 million
Jason Field, branch manager for Omron
distributor Aztec Electric, recently worked
with a major automobile manufacturer to
implement the Omron FQ2 Smart Sensor
Camera, which integrates the camera, vision
processor, and high-power lighting into a
single compact enclosure.
The FQ2 Smart Sensor Camera can be
used its own or with an NJ series machine
automation controller (MAC) or CS, CJ1, or
CJ2 series programmable logic controller.
This flexibility means that FQ2 owners can
use incremental investments to create highly
integrated automation environments.
“The customer was using a competitor’s
quality-inspection system that required five
cameras,” Tomaszewski says. “The cameras
were supposed to provide error proofing
when changing models or adding options.
But it was unreliable, and employees
were always putting the system into
bypass mode.”
Like many modern facilities, the customer’s
plant used a combination of natural and
artificial light to reduce overhead costs.
These conditions were too challenging
for the competitor’s sensor. But, as Field
and Tomaszewski demonstrated, the FQ2
configured with a wide-view, long-distance
camera could easily recognize true colors
and patterns without issue.
“Our vision sensor was originally developed
for the semiconductor industry,” Tomaszewski
says. “Those environments are very
demanding and challenged us to create an
extremely accurate sensor.”
Field and the customer’s staff needed just
a few hours to install the FQ2 Smart Sensor
Camera and replace the existing five-camera
vision system. Since implementation, the
new system has never been placed in
bypass mode, and the customer estimates
that reduced rework and faster production
throughput have saved more than $1 million.
Business Need
Automotive manufacturers rely on
non-contact inspection to ensure
quality and efficiency. Affordable,
accurate, and reliable technology
is critical for meeting government
mandates, avoiding litigation, and
ensuring traceability throughout the
manufacturing process.
Flexible Solution
The Sysmac automation platform
makes non-contact inspection
accurate, affordable, and easy
to set up. The system supports a
variety of sensors, including the
Omron FQ2 Smart Sensor Camera
and Omron ZW-7000 Confocal
Fiber Displacement Sensor.
Customer Benefits
Manufacturers are able to
improve throughput, inspection
accuracy, and data traceability in
a scalable, cost effective manner
with unparalleled reliability. When
integrated with Omron’s real time
machine control with database
capability and intelligence motion
solutions, they provide affordable
alternatives to manual-based
inspection and error-proofing
processes to ensure compliance.
Sysmac with displacement
sensor allows OEM to support
multiple plants with a single
quality system
Sometimes a customer’s quality
inspection problem is not so much
about sensor reliability as overall system
complexity. Monty recently worked
with an automotive original equipment
manufacturer (OEM) that was struggling
to support a variety of hardware
products, middleware and programming
applications installed across sites in
multiple countries.
“The customer wanted one global system
for automation,” Monty says. “When I told
them the Sysmac automation platform
could meet all their needs, it got their
The customer had an immediate
challenge for Monty. Could he simplify
quality inspection for a key product
being produced at five different plants?
Monty suggested combining the Sysmac
platform with the Omron ZW-7000
Confocal Fiber Displacement Sensor.
“It was the right way to capture stable
measurements without compromising
manufacturing speed,” he says. “The ZW7000 can measure many types of materials
and shapes using white LED wavelengths
and do it quickly and without requiring
workers to wear eye protection.”
While the ZW-7000 is very accurate, Monty
thinks the customer was more impressed
by the Sysmac platform’s combination of
simplicity and flexibility. With the specified
Omron NJ-series MAC, the customer was
able to deploy a compact, rugged and
easily reprogrammable control that is ideal
for data-driven production environments.
“The NJ is much more powerful than
a traditional controller,” Monty says.
“It is available with integrated SQL link
and can serve as a gateway between a
private machine network and a central
database. Direct connectivity is important
if a customer wants to improve data
collection and traceability.”
The NJ MAC has built-in connectivity
for up to three relational databases over
Ethernet (socket service), EtherNet/
IP, PROFINET, DeviceNet, or EtherCAT.
EtherCAT networks are particularly easy to
set up since Sysmac allows the integrator
to calculate speed and reaction times in
A single automation platform
for improving performance
with less complexity
The Sysmac automation platform
enables manufacturers to control a single
machine, production cell or plant. Because
the platform is designed with connectivity
in mind, it also provides an architecture
for increasing visibility across locations.
With granular data, customers can prove
adherence to government mandates and
industry best practices.
Sysmac is widely used for motion control,
vision processing and safety functions.
The software supports access through a
workstation, browser and mobile device
and includes tools for supervisory control
and data acquisition (SCADA), human
machine interface (HMI), and overall
equipment efficiency (OEE) dashboards.
It also supports a wide range of thirdparty automation products, multiple
databases and remote-access systems;
meets industry audit and verification
requirements; and includes tools for
adhering to FDA 21 CFR Part 11, EU Annex
11, and Good Automated Manufacturing
Practice (GAMP) guidelines.
Omron Automation is a global
automation partner that creates,
manufactures and services
fully integrated automation
solutions. We provide controls,
vision, safety, motion and
robotics for the automotive,
semiconductor, food/beverage,
packaging, pharmaceutical and
infrastructure industries.
For over 80 years, Omron has
helped industrial businesses
maximize potential by solving
problems creatively. Currently
headed by President Yoshihito
Yamada, our company is 36,000
employees strong—providing
products and services in more
than 110 countries worldwide.
Learn more at: omron247.com
The Sysmac Studio integrated
development environment also reduces
project time by allowing operators to
test, debug, and simulate programs even
before production hardware is in place.
The software supports access through
workstations, browsers and mobile
devices. Operators on the plant floor can
also use an Omron NA series HMI to write
and insert structured text directly into
ladder programs.
“Sysmac is a versatile platform for
manufacturing,” Tomaszewski says. “Unlike
our competitors, Omron makes it even
more attractive by offering free 24/7
support and free software updates. It is a
powerful and complete solution.”
Chicago, IL USA • 847.843.7900
800.556.6766 • omron247.com
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