Wheel & Tire Identification System
Auto assembly plants produce many different models that are interspersed throughout
different assembly lines, each with different tire and wheel sets. Tire and
wheel subcontractors, often in different states, pre-mount the numerous types
of tires to the numerous styles of wheels for specific makes and models of
vehicles and group them in sets in the same order that the cars will later
be assembled at remote plants.
The challenge to Newton engineers was to develop a system able to identify and verify that the correct combination of tires and wheels were present, correctly mounted and grouped in matching sets.
Newton engineers developed a system composed of two area scan cameras and
custom illuminators installed within an enclosure on a production line moving
at 60 ft. (18.3 m) per minute. One camera and illuminator identified the wheel
style by design and measured the tire ID and OD. The second camera and illuminator
identified the tire style by tread recognition. If the combination of the expected
features did not match the schedule, the system was halted until humans could
fix or adjust the queue. The system was also were able to do the inspection
when the wheels were stacked, before shipping a
set of four.
Additionally, the system produced a searchable database of thumbnail images for all wheels and tires processed that could be used by quality assurance personnel.